by Terrance Rey
Introduction of the NorthEastern Caribbean Aviation Partnership (NECAP)
In my article regarding the new role for travel agents I wrote that with the diversified and widespread island nations throughout the Caribbean with their own identities, cultures and national governments, it is hard to create a unified Caribbean airline, but, that with a virtual airline operation you can create a Caribbean-wide network by working with partners and be able to provide the same service of a full-fledge airline company without the overhead costs and bureacracy.
With further study and analysis, I have come up with a practical approach to implementing the virtual airline model without the need to address the issue of who the coordinating entity will be. The practical issues will be resolved based on the following key element: Recipriocity.
Recipriocity can be defined in this case as a mutual or cooperative interchange of reservations, clients and passengers, especially the exchange of clients rights or passenger privileges between two airlines or aviation entities.
A practical implementation of this idea can be found in the situation whereby airline and charter operators use the AirStMaarten Virtual Airline reservation request system to seek flights or seats availabilities or book charters on other partner airline or charter operators in the AirStMaarten partners network.
The operational theater for the present moment is in the Northeastern Caribbean area. Hence the intention to set up the North Eastern Caribbean Aviation Partnership. NECAP for short.
NECAP will be an airline aviation alliance set up with the purpose of channeling and guiding cooperation between airlines, charter operators and other aviation partners operating in the Northeastern Caribbean area.
Recipriocity will be achieved and made mutually profitable by having and allowing partner airlines and charter operators, who have limited capacity or no availabilities in their flight schedules or on their aircrafts, especially when these are completely booked out or the aircrafts are down for maintenance or due to a pilot shortage, to utilize the AirStMaarten reservation request system to book their clients and passengers with other operators and receive a percentage of the price or rates the clients have to pay for these bookings.
So, for instance, AirStMaarten normally books its charters with Windward Express. Windward Express can in turn, when its flights are booked out on a particular day or time, book reservations with AirStMaarten and use the AirSXM reservation system to process a reservation with a third party operator for its clients. Windward Express will receive a commission from AirStMaarten for doing this or pay AirStMaarten a net rate. AirStMaarten then settles payments with the third party operators and coordinates the operational matters and see to the proper execution thereof, thereby realizing the role wherein AirStMaarten fulfils the coordinating role in the virtual airline network.
NECAP will be used to give the necessary legitimacy and incorporate the rules and guidelines regulating this joint cooperation and working relationship.
It seems that everytime there are crises in the world with the resulting rise in fuel costs, the search for feasibility and viability in the airline industry and aviation sector is undertaken with renewed vigor. This time around it is not only rising oil prices and the subsequent threat of higher airline ticket prices and skyrocketing airport fees that are the driving engines behind this search for cooperation but also the impending imposition of government taxes on airline ticket prices and revenues and, most urgent of all, are the rising insurance premiums that are slowly but surely becoming unaffordable.
The bottomline is that a charter operator should have absolutely no reason to turn away a good client, but can confidently continue to service this client through the partner network as if he was actually flying the client himself. This way the charter operator can be assured that he will never have to sell a client a 'No'.
When the NECAP is set up, the organisation will consist of the following types of partners in the network:
NECAP and the AirStMaarten Virtual Airline business model will be able to circumpass the different aviation jurisdictions in the Northeastern Caribbean region. The NECAP network will encompass the Dutch, French, British, US and other Caribbean civil aviation jurisdictions and create one unified virtual aviation territory.
Previous articles in this series:
Introduction of the Virtual Airline Business Model
Introduction of a New Role for Travel Agents
Next article: "Incentivization As Another Key Element To Resolve The Practical Issues Surrounding The Virtual Airline Model"
Terrance Rey is owner and operator of AirStMaarten, Caribbean's first virtual airline based in St. Maarten; organizing and coordinating commercial flights, shared charters and private charters to and from St. Maarten, St. Barths, Anguilla, Antigua, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and throughout the rest of the Caribbean. Terrance Rey is also the President of the Aviation Pioneers of the Caribbean Foundation (APOTCF). Terrance Rey will take the initiative to form the North Eastern Caribbean Aviation Partnership (NECAP). Prospective members will be Winair, Windward Express, St. Barth Commuter, TransAnguilla, Anguilla Air Services, Caribe Air Services, Tradewind Aviation, Melmik Aviation, Jetbudget, Island Airways, Rainbow International, Anguilla Express, Air America, MN Aviation, Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines, Westindies Executive Air, SVG Air, BVI Airways, LIAT, Inselair, DAE, Tiara Air, Divi Divi Air, Caribbean Airways, SLM and many more. Once we have a true Pan Caribbean Airline Aviation Alliance, we can form the PCAAA or PCA for short. Or set up ANEWCAP.