US Regional carrier Gulfstream International Airlines will begin Caribbean codeshare operations for Continental and United Airlines from its new San Juan, Puerto Rico, hub on 1 November.

Miami, Florida-based Gulfstream will relocate 19-seat Raytheon Beech 1900C/Ds to San Juan for the new operation. Plans call for six aircraft to operate 24 flights a day initially, increasing to 10 aircraft and 88 flights a day by 1 February, says chief operating officer Pierre Galoppi.

"The operation will be high frequency, with 14 flights a day between San Juan and St Thomas," he says. Both Continental and United are increasing flights from the USA to San Juan. "We have based our business plan on connecting traffic," Galoppi says.

Gulfstream will provide the first real competition for American Eagle, which operates a large network throughout the Caribbean using ATR turboprops from its San Juan hub. American Airlines and its regional affiliate have increased their Caribbean schedules for the winter season, from 19 November. American Eagle will operate 84 flights a day between San Juan and 23 Caribbean destinations.

Continental and United will codeshare on Gulfstream's services from San Juan to St Thomas, St Croix, St Maarten and St Kitts, as well as on inter-island flights between St Thomas and St Croix, which are in the US Virgin Islands. Gulfstream already codeshares with both airlines on its Florida routes. Galoppi says Gulfstream is negotiating Caribbean codeshare deals with other airlines.

Source: Flight International