InterCaribbean Airways plans to acquire large regional jets beginning next winter, aircraft it will use to expand to the USA and elsewhere in Latin America, say executives at the Providenciales-based carrier.

They decline to say which aircraft they are eying, but say it will have between 70 and 100 seats, a range that could be filled by aircraft made by Bombardier, Embraer or Mitsubishi.

“We have our mind fixated on a couple of airplanes,” says chairman Lyndon Gardiner. “Clearly it will be a jet”.

InterCaribbean, which flies 13 30-seat Embraer EMB-120s, expects to acquire its first jets in late 2016 or early 2017, though initial aircraft could be a “bridge” to further deliveries, says Gardiner.

InterCaribbean intends to use the new aircraft to launch routes to eastern US cities, and possibly to Central and South American destinations, executives say.

It will also fly them on existing routes such as Providenciales-Havana and Santo Domingo-Antigua, and intends to launch service to new eastern Cuban destinations like Holguín, says Gardiner.

Although InterCaribbean already flies to Cuba, that market has enormous potential thanks to easing of relations between the US and Cuba.

But to meet that demand, Cuba must invest in hotels, airports and other infrastructure, which will benefit all carriers.

“It isn’t going to be a slam dunk, walk-in-the-park that everyone thinks,” says chief executive Trevor Sadler.

InterCaribbean has an interline deal with British Airways, but is also seeking partnerships with other carriers, including large international carriers and Caribbean airlines.

One goal is to make it easier for visitors to book multi-island vacations, says Sadler.

But like other executives, he says Caribbean governments must reduce passenger taxes, noting that taxes on InterCaribbean’s flights to Cap Haitien can top $130.

InterCaribbean has already talked taxes with several Caribbean governments, and some have expressed support, says Sadler.

“We are well on our way to getting a quorum” of countries that support tax cuts, adds Gardiner.

Source: Cirium Dashboard