United Caribbean Airways
A special development project by British United Airways - 1969
The Proposal for the Creation of a Barbadian based airline
In view of the necessity to create a carrier based in Barbados, British United Airways propose to assist by using their experience to form such an airline company as soon as possible.
It is proposed that this company would be an IATA airline with a share capital of £1,000,000 which would operate both long and medium haul schedule services. A further associated company would also be formed. This would be a non-IATA company with a nominal share capital of, say, £1000 to cater for the rapidly growing inclusive tour and charter market.
Bearing in mind the idea that the evolvement of local air transport is proposed on a regional basis it is felt that that direct use of the name “Barbados” in the company title would not be descriptive of the future development envisaged. It is therefore suggested that a title more in keeping with the general concept be adopted.
Such a title might be United Caribbean Airways (UCA) and this is the name that has been used throughout this note for the purposes of identification.
In order to comply with Barbadian laws and Article 7 of the Chicago Convention, it is necessary for UCA to be substantially Barbadian owned. Consequently it is proposed that BUA (Holdings) take 49% of the share capital in their own name, 30% in the names of nominees on Barbadian nationality, and offer 21% for public subscription in Barbados.
In order to ensure a viable operation it would be essential for UCA to receive the necessary route licences obtained by the Barbadian Government during bilateral negotiations. In addition protection would be required by the Government undertaking not to issue licences to any other carrier which might make UCA’s operations uncommercial.
It is proposed that, initially, UCA would be kept as a relatively small company and would commence operations by entering a Management Contract with BUA to run the business. Modern four-engined jet aircraft, painted in UCA’s colours, would be lease purchased from BUA who would also provide maintenance and provisioning under further contracts. UCA’s own sales offices would be set up in Barbados and other local Caribbean points using associated carriers on a G.S.A basis, whilst BUA would make available its own extensive facilities for sales outlets in UK, Europe, South America, USA and Canada.
With the commencement of operations BUA would establish, on UCA’s behalf, a passenger and traffic handling unit in Barbados. This would not only deal with UCA’s own passengers and aircraft but would also undertake handling other operators’ movements and so provide a very useful additional source of revenue.
In time, as local experience was gained, UCA would gradually assume greater responsibility for its own affairs.
Development Phase 1 - UCA Long Haul Services
In order to simplify the early stages of development, UCA’s initial operations would be limited to the capacity of one long haul aircraft (annual utilisation 3,800hrs). A detailed examination of these long haul reciprocal routes available to Barbados, which would ensure the earliest profitability, indicates a choice of services to Europe and North America.
Barbados has strong ethnic ties with the United Kingdom. Having regard to BUA’s own pattern of operations, there would be obvious operational advantages to UCS in initiating services on the Barbados - UK route. Examination of the traffic shows that potential for a twice weekly operations giving approximately 2,200 hours of annual aircraft utilisation.
Ties between Barbados and Canada are perhaps as strong as those with the UK and the already high level of existing traffic between the two is at present carried unopposed by Air Canada. Thus UCA services to Canada are both logical and potentially viable. A twice weekly service would give about 1,400 hour’s annual aircraft utilisation.
There are at present direct connections between Caracas and Canada, whilst direct links from South America through the Caribbean are few. Caracas generates a considerable flow of traffic and can be integrated into the UK and Canada operating pattern evolved above.
It is thus proposed that UCA should commence operations, using one aircraft, on the route pattern detailed following and pictorially in Figure 2.
Europe Barbados - Antigua - London (2 return services per week)
N America....Barbados - Antigua - Toronto (2 return services per week)
S America... Barbados - Trinidad - Caracas (4 return services per week)
It is anticipated that traffic will be available on all sectors and destinations, except beyond Antigua, by virtue of reciprocal rights from the carriers now operating through Barbados, i.e. BOAC, Air Canada, BWIA and VIASA. Fifth freedom rights can be negotiated on a similar basis.
Antigua is at present a UK dependent territory. As such, BOAC is the designated carrier and fifth freedom rights may be difficult to negotiate. Consequently, depending on the type of aircraft employed by UCA, Antigua might be eliminated or used only as a technical stopping point until traffic rights become available.
Future Development to Phase 1
In the light of operating experience several alternative routings could be introduced to those initially proposed to achieve greater profitability. These could include services through Madrid and Frankfurt to take advantage of ethnic South American traffic, or to Scandinavia with its large sun-seeking holiday market.
Development of the airline on further long haul routes would be under consideration at all times. Possibilities of expansion for UCA could include both scheduled and non-scheduled services to Mid-Western and Western USA, Canada and South America beyond Caracas. In particular close investigation would be made offering a completely new route linking USA with West Africa, and beyond, through the Caribbean. This service would cater for the American holiday traffic bound for Africa and the growing African government traffic to North America, and would be advantageous to both in embracing the fashionable Barbados holiday resort.