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In this February 2010 issue:

1. INTRO: Why Did Air Caraibes Stop Flying To St. Barths?
2. SPECIALS: Shared Jet Charters from New York to St. Maarten
3. ARTICLE: Shared Private Jet Charters To St. Maarten + Update
4. SPONSOR MESSAGE: CheapoAir
5. NEWS ITEM: Air Cariabes Starts Paris Flights
6. TRAVEL TIP: Know AirStMaarten's Terms of Service
7. AGENDA: St. Barths Bucket March 25-28 2010 
8. ADVERTISEMENT: StMaarten-Villas.com
9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten

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INTRO: Why Did Air Caraibes Stop Flying To St. Barths?
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Dear friends and clients,

The other day a friend and St. Barths lover asked me why Air Caraibes stopped flying to St. Barths. Good question! Why did Air Caraibes stopped flying to St. Barths? First some background information on Air Caraibes.

Air Caraibes logo

Air Caraïbes is the regional airline of the French Caribbean which comprises the overseas departments of France: Guadeloupe and Martinique. The airline is headquartered in Les Abymes in Guadeloupe. It operates scheduled and charter services serving 13 islands in the West Indies. It also operates transatlantic flights to Paris using Airbus A330 aircraft under the Air Caraïbes Atlantique brand. The airline code shares with LIAT. Its main base is Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport, with a hub at Le Lamentin Airport, Fort-de-France.

According to Wikipedia, Air Caraïbes started out of the necessity to have a regional airline responding to the needs of the French Caribbean territories. The company was founded in July 2000 through the merger of various local airlines (Air Guadeloupe, Air Martinique, Air St Barthélémy, Air St Martin). In 2002, the company flew 445,000 passengers and had €68 million in revenues. It is part of the Carib Sky Alliance, an airline alliance which comprises in addition to Air Caraïbes the following airlines: Leeward Islands Air Transport and Winair (Windward Islands Airways).

It was established as Societe Caribienne de Transports Aériens and started operations in September 1994. It started services to Paris from Guadeloupe and Martinique in December 2003 using an Airbus A330-200. The airline is owned by Groupe Dubreuil (85%) and has 627 employees (at March 2007).

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan F-OIJO 208B0961 Saint Barthelemy - TFFJ

For years Air Caraibes was the prefered partner commercial airline for AirStMaarten on the St. Maarten-St. Barths route. The Cessna Caravan 208B Air Caraibes operate on this route was perfect for carrying a full load of 9 passengers plus luggage.

Unfortunately, Air Caraibes was apparently losing too much money on the St. Barths routes. There were also many operational control issues in St. Barths that raised many question within the company about the viability of the St. Barths operation. The company on two seperate occasions stopped flying from St. Maarten to Barths, while operations were under review and scrutiny, until finally in 2009 operations were ceased permanently.

I have seen a positive increase in demand for our shared charter service due to the demise of Air Caraibes operations on the St. Maarten St. Barths route. One might wonder if there is room for a newcomer to take up the slack. But I doubt there is enough 'slack' for any newcomer to take up. Both Winair and St. Barths Commuter have seen a reduction in flights and aircrafts operating on this route.

A possible newcomer may be Tradewind as this company is interested in operating on the St. Maarten-St. Barths route. But they would have to get a license to do so. To be able to get a license, they would have to be registered on either the French or Dutch territory as a US-based airline or charter company can not fly directly between these territories due to Fifth Freedom Rights issues.

Besides Windward Express we charter St. Barth Commuter, Anguilla Air Services, TransAnguilla and Tradewind for our private charters. But for the shared charters out of St. Maarten we work with Windward Express as we are able to offer additional premium services such as bagage retrieval and transfers by our agents and the by-passing of Immigration Clearance in St. Maarten for our passengers in transit to St. Barths.

The only downside is that the two 9-seater BN Islander aircrafts Windward Express operates only allows us to carry on average six (6) passengers plus luggage on each aircraft. Fortunately, Windward Express now operates a 5-seater Piper Aztek as an additional carrier. However, a 9-seater Cessna Caravan offers a much better cost-effective alternative. In that sense, Air Caraibes will be sorely missed on the SXM-SBH route. But there is good news on the horizon. More about that in later newsletters. 

In the meantime, please review our newsletter below. 

Happy Readings!

Terrance Rey

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2. SPECIALS: Shared Jet Charters from New York to St. Maarten
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Reyjetservices - AllCaribbeanCharters

We can offer you a seat on one of our private jets from New York to St. Maarten and back:

1 Seat Booking - $9000 per seat per leg
2 Seat Booking - $5000 per seat per leg
3 Seat Booking - $4000 per seat per leg

Fares excluding airport departure taxes, excess bagage fees or in-flight incidentals such as catering. You will be flying either on one of our Citations, Hawkers, Learjets or any other suitable executive jet we have available.
Customers understand and agree that they will be sharing their flight with other customers. Email sales@airsxm.com for more information.

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3. ARTICLE: Shared Private Jet Charters To St. Maarten + Update
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SHARED PRIVATE JET CHARTERS TO ST. MAARTEN

AirStMaarten now offering shared private jet charters from mainland USA to St. Maarten with seamless connections to St. Barths.

St. Maarten - Terrance Rey, founder of Caribbean’s first and only virtual airline called AirStMaarten, now offering shared private jet service from mainland USA to St. Maarten with connecting charters to St. Barths. AirStMaarten will organize shared jet charters in cooperation with private jet charter operators throughout the USA and the Caribbean.

Shared Private Jet Charters from mainland USA to St. Maarten

“We will be utilizing private jet aircrafts such as, Westwind, Citations and Hawkers to cater to non-executive travelers who want to travel in style with private jet service at an affordable price.” explains Rey.

At present AirStMaarten offers shared private charters from St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to St. Barths. “Many of our clients arrive on commercial airlines, but the connection times are not ideal.” says Rey. “So we are looking to provide seamless connections with our new inbound private jet service.”

“For rates starting at $1500, affluent St. Barths travellers will be able to fly to St. Maarten at a premium price compared to the average Economy Class ticket price of $500, yet still competitive in comparison to a First Class fare of about $1800 to $2500.” continues Rey.

Terrance Rey first started AirStMaarten in 2003 offering transatlantic flights from The Netherlands to St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba with the now defunct Air Holland. After the demise of this Dutch charter operator, AirStMaarten focused it’s attention on the Dutch Caribbean regional market by offering flights with commercial carriers such as Dutch Antilles Express (now known as DAE), Inselair, Tiara Air, Winair, Air Caraibes, St. Barth Commuter and TransAnguilla, before ultimately finding its niche market in ‘Shared Charters’ to St. Barths.

“The idea was simple.” explains Rey. “Book private charters from St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and San Juan to St. Barths and sell the seats individually at a higher price than the commercial carriers, such as Winair, Air Caraibes, Tradewind Aviation, Carib Aviation and St. Barth Commuter, and include VIP Services with Meet & Greet, Immigration Clearance, Escort, Luggage Pick Up and Transfers.”

“The only requirement for us to be able to schedule and execute a shared charter is that we have to have a minimum of 4 passengers on a flight.” Rey continues.

“Our new shared private jet charter service from mainland USA will be following the same concept. We will charter the whole aircraft to operate on our behalf and AirStMaarten will sell the seats individually. In certain cases, we will not even require a minimum amount of passengers before scheduling and executing a charter.” Terrance Rey concludes. “A new era in Caribbean private jet charter service has been launched to provide seamless connections via San Juan, Anguilla, St. Maarten and St. Kitts to St. Barths between inbound jet flights with the shared private charters we provide between these islands.”

“Furthermore,” Rey continues. “for those passengers arriving in St. Maarten and staying on the island we will have a VIP Meet & Greet Desk at the Princess Juliana International Airport, also known as the PJIA or PJIAE airport, where passengers can receive a Welcome Package, receive gift certificates to use while on the island, arrange VIP Shuttle Transfers to the hotels, villa's and condominium resorts, arrange tours, book island activities or excursion flights to the surrounding islands on commercial airline, private charters or even take a helicopter tour of the island.”

“We will man the desk with agents who can assist passengers with checking in, Business Class reservations, airline First Class tickets, lost luggage, wheelchair service, luggage carts, valet parking and escorting unaccompanied minors.” tells Rey. “It will be a great relief to our clients to know that on the ground in St. Maarten we can also be of assistance. In St. Barths it is no different as we work with Premium IV to provide concierge services to our clients over there.”

Click here to submit a reservation request for a private jet charter 

UPDATE: Shared Private Jet Charters Schedule Now Available...

  • Saturday departures to St. Maarten from New York area - morning
  • Saturday departures to St. Maarten from South Florida - midday
  •  
  • Sunday departures from St. Maarten - midday

Fares starts at $5000 per person per one-way from New York and $2500 per person per one-way from South Florida. 

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4. SPONSOR MESSAGE: CheapoAir
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Cheap Air Flightbanner

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5. NEWS ITEM: Air Cariabes Starts Paris Flights
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AIRPORT -- Air Caraibes has elevated its services to St. Maarten from regional to international as of December 2009. The Guadeloupe-based French airline operates a direct flight from Orly Airport in Paris to St. Maarten twice weekly as of December 12, 2009.

 Airbus A330-323X F-ORLY 758 St. Maarten-Princess Juliana Int'l - TNCM

“We decided not to leave all our eggs in one basket. We are diversifying our product offering to St. Maarten,” said Zoe Wegnerowicz, Air Caraibes’ representative in the North Eastern Caribbean.

Air Caraibes has been servicing St. Maarten since 1973, offering flights to the French Caribbean territories. Wegnerowicz explained that the company is privately owned by the French Dubreuil Group. It is a merger of the smaller airlines – Air Guadeloupe, Air St. Barthélémy, Air St. Martin and Air Martinique - that previously flew between the French islands.

“We reassembled these airlines and brought them together under one name, Air Caraibes, to offer regional air service,” she explained.

Air Caraibes flies four Airbus A330 type aircraft, one ATR 72-500 and one Brazil-made Embraer. They employ 800 people throughout the French islands and French Guiana and transported more than one million passengers in 2008. The company boasts annual revenue of 230 million euros and clocked six million euros profit in 2008.

Air Caraibes will use the flight between St. Maarten and Paris on Saturdays and Tuesdays, taking off from St. Maarten just before 4:30pm. “We’re making a stop in Haiti, where we will be for an hour to refuel, after which we fly eight hours to Orly-Sud in Paris,” said Wegnerowicz.

She listed some advantages of this flight, among which the connections at the airport at Orly and the time passengers will arrive there. “Orly-Sud is perfect for passengers that have South France as their final destination; it is not as busy as Charles de Gaulle airport and offers good connections to the south, whether by plane or train,” she said, calling the new flight a perfect solution for the Antilles.

“A lot of people from the Antilles, French and Dutch live or have family in the South of France,” she said.

Source: The Daily Herald

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6. TRAVEL TIP: Know AirStMaarten's Terms of Service
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Here are our Terms of Service:

  1. Virtual Airline. AirStMaarten does not own nor operate its own aircrafts. We charter aircrafts or we book seats on Commercial Airlines for our customers. We have access to seats on 300 airlines to 5000 destinations worldwide. We also have access to a worldwide network of Charter Operators.
  2. Reservations. After you submit a Reservation Request we will search for the best option and send you a Reservation Offer with an itinerary and payment instructions. The rates or fares quoted are subject to aircraft or seats availability and are valid for a limit period, after which they are subject to change without notice. Any change in itinerary will invalidate our Reservation Offer.
  3. Payment Terms. Reservation Offers are payable upon receipt. Customers authorize payment by credit card by signing a creditcard authorisation form and faxing this back to us. We accept all major creditcards (Visa/Mastercard, Discover and AMEX). Customers can choose to pay via banktransfer, international bankwire or remit money via a money remittance service. Once payment has been received and processed, we will send out a Reservation Confirmation.
  4. Cancellation Policy. The Charter Operator's confirmation terms or the Airline's e-tickets will reflect the cancellation policy.
  5. Final Confirmation. AirStMaarten will confirm the Airline or Charter Operator details within 24 hours of a flight at the latest with check-in instructions and meet & greet information. In the case of a "Shared Charter", customers understand and agree that they will be sharing their flight with other customers.

Looking forward to being of assistance to you in planning your next trip to St. Barths.

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7. AGENDA: St. Barths Bucket March 25-28, 2010
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St. Barths Bucket March 25-28, 2010

St. Barth Bucket Races
March 25 through March 28, 2010
http://www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/index.html

PHOTO RAPPORTAGE
Click here for the Photo Rapportage>>>

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8. ADVERTISEMENT: StMaarten-Villas.com
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St. Maarten Villas at www.StMaarten-Villas.com

Villa Gracia is a graciously designed luxury villa in Pelican Key, St. Maarten, overlooking the Simpson Bay Beach consisting of a master bedroom with jacuzzi, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, fully-loaded kitchen, spacious living room area, dining room, fully-equipped washroom and wide patio. Available for immediate rent as a villa rental by owner. Visit http://www.stmaarten-villas.com for more information.

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9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten
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Booking Procedure & Reservation Information

Submit a reservation request online at www.airsxm.com. Once we receive your request, we will send you a Reservation Offer for your consideration. Once you accept our proposal, we will require payment. You can use our credit card form to send us your credit card information. We accept all major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. You can also pay by bank transfer, check, cash or Paypal. Once payment is received, we will book the commercial flight or private charter and send you a Reservation Confirmation.

If you have requested additional services such as VIP Transfer Services, we will send you a Final Confirmation containing all details of your travel itinerary and services booked. And that's how you book with AirStMaarten.

Other Customer Service Resources:
Our Shared Charters concept explained in full detail
VIP Transfer Services through Princess Juliana Int'l Airport
Island Concierge Services on St. Maarten and St. Barths
Read what our satisfied clients are saying about our service
Ticket Insurance
We also accept payments via Paypal
St. Maarten Villa Rentals
St. Maarten Yachting and Sailing Charters
Sign up for our email newsletter service

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