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New airline servicing St Lucia holidays

  • 10-Jun-10 16:59
  • St Lucia
  • Holiday Industry

A new airline has been added to the list of air carriers taking passengers to Caribbean holidays in St Lucia as Winair announced its new St Lucia route including flights between St Lucia, Dominica and St Martin, scheduled to begin on 28th June 2010.

New airline servicing St Lucia holidays

Almond Morgan Bay’s Le Jardin was the scene for the unveiling of a new carrier bringing more passengers St Lucia holidays as Windward Islands Airways (Winair) announced the launch of a new set of flights. Winair’s Claudio Buncamper, the Vice President of Marketing/Sales and Customer Service, introduced the new airline to the media on Wednesday June 2.

Having been around for 49 years and having served the north-eastern Caribbean zone with their base in St Maarten, Winair has plenty of experience servicing Caribbean holidays. The company is owned by the government of the Netherland Antilles and as Buncamper tells it, their main core of business is providing essential services to St Eustacia to sister islands. They were also contracted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to do some services to Barbuda and additionally, since 2005 when Monsterrat reopened, they were the first carrier to go back into Monsterrat doing essential services for them as well.

Winair also services Nevis and St Barts with regular flights. In St Maarten there is a thriving operation reaching, in the peak times, up to 70 or 80 flights a day from St Maarten to the various islands. Buncamper explained that Winair has decided to expand operations to service St Lucia holidays. As such, on June 28, Winair will be starting services out of St Lucia which would include flights out of St Lucia to Dominica and then to St Martin. Also, a flight directly from St Lucia to St Maarten will be in place.

“Some of these flights will connect to Tortola, Antigua, Monsterrat and all the destinations that we fly,” Buncamper confirmed.

These flights will be facilitated by a Jet Stream 31 aircraft which is a 19-seater air conditioned carrier. Buncamper told the press, “We see this as an ideal aircraft from a costing perspective to start these flights. We also will be, in the near future, once we have regulated rights, we will have services into Barbados and Trinidad. Basically, it is having the capability of starting down south and going straight up to the north. We’re trying to do that with as least as possible stops. St Lucia is right in the middle and we will have an aircraft over-nighting here.” For St Lucia holidays, this means increased airlift. However, Buncamper made it clear, “It’s not intent of Winair to start any fare wars with LIAT. We work with LIAT in many other aspects. We look at these services as a compliment to what’s out there.”

Although Winair does not see itself as a competitor with LIAT, the new carrier does offer some advantages.

“The one thing that we do have over LIAT is for connecting passengers. We have an agreement with all carriers coming into the region from Europe and the United States. We check the bags through so we don’t force any passengers to pick up their bags and have them re-checked through our regulations which are different from theirs. We do have those advantages. In the technological field we are more advanced than most of the carriers in the Caribbean. With our agreements you can buy a ticket for Winair and get directly onto airlines such as Air France, American Airlines and Air Cariibes. You don’t go through immigration. You don’t go through customs. You go directly to the gate.”

Adding more capacity for Caribbean travellers wishing to make a stop to enjoy St Lucia holidays, Winair will be providing daily flights, 12,000 additional seats into St Lucia weekly.

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