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Photo: Norwegian

Norwegian bids farewell to the Caribbean

Under pressure to drop unprofitable routes, Norwegian has reportedly decided to drop its routes to the French Caribbean islands.

After four years in Caribbean airspace, Norwegian has decided to abandon its routes to the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique from the US East Coast, Royal Caribbean Radio is reporting.

The struggling carrier confirms that services between to the French West Indies will not be renewed next season.

The flights between the United States (New York, Fort Lauderdale) and Canada (Montreal) and Aimé Césaire (Martinique), Pôle Caraïbes (Guadeloupe) and Félix Eboué (Guyana) will not be repeated from 2020.

Undergoing a capital increase of €310 million, the carrier is now opting to cut all unprofitable routes, despite an upward trend on the Caribbean routes.

The airline’s departure was initially “half-confirmed” by the tourist authorities of Martinique, namely Karine Mousseau, president of the Martinique Committee of Tourism.

Planes not full
But Royal Caribbean Radio attests that the communications department at Norwegian has been more affirmative.

“A commercial decision was made not to renew our seasonal operations in the West Indies, as we realise that we have not achieved the desired profitability,” Marion Lamure, in charge of communications at Norwegian in France, tells the pan-Caribbean radio station.

“The planes were not full in either direction, otherwise we would have seen a change in terms of occupancy, especially on behalf of Americans flying to the Caribbean, but these operations are not profitable enough knowing that the company has launched a cost reduction plan.”

Lamure continues: “Our local partners played the game to make the routes known, but they did not appeal to the West Indians. The bulk of the travellers come mainly from the US. If we take the 2017-18 season, the flight refills at departure from [Martinique capital] Fort-de-France were not satisfactory.”

The airport authorities in Montreal are reportedly still trying to convince the airline not to drop the routes.

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