Island Air has joined a new alliance that could lead to lower fuel costs for private air operators across the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Fixed Base Operators Alliance was launched at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition at Geneva, Switzerland, said Marcus Cumber of Island Air.
“As one Island Air, or one St. Thomas Jet Centre, we are not very strong. But if we kept our alliance together, instead of Marcus Cumber selling just [for example] one million gallons, I am part of an alliance selling [for example] 60 million gallons.
That now makes fuel suppliers say, ‘whoa, this is good, we can incorporate them all, we can make good money, we can give them volume discount, help them with insurance, help them with marketing.’
“We are looking at volume discounts and being able to get a better price for each individual dealer, better insurance rates, pooling our marketing. That is the mentality; we are coming together to be formidable and to protect the weakest link.
Cayman and Nassau are some of the strongest links, but somewhere like Anguilla is smaller,
so we are embracing each other and protecting each other from now on.”
The alliance had a booth in the Geneva conference and toward the end of June there will be a meeting in Miami to formalise the new cooperation.
“We may include other islands who might not be Chevron, they may be Exxon, but might eventually come across to us. We are negotiating as a region, for the region.
Chevron and Exxon are the top two largest companies in the world, up there with Walmart, and they could come in and divide and conquer very easily.
“If we get this alliance together and bring most of the Caribbean FBOs in, we can get together and negotiate a better price for our fuel, bring the margin and price down, get customers happy with that and we are still as profitable as before,” said Mr. Cumber.
The alliance was born from the previous Star Alliance, which was brought together by Chevron/Texaco.
However, since Chevron has moved into upstream-only operations – drilling and refining – other companies such as AvFuel and World Fuel are vying to act as suppliers to the region. It is with these companies that the alliance will negotiate in the future.
Members of the new alliance are: Lloyd’s Aviation, Anguilla; FBO2000, Antigua; Odyssey Aviation, the Bahamas; Island Air, Grand Cayman; MN Aviation, Puerto Rico; Bohike International Airways, St. Croix; Arindell Aviation, St. Maarten; St. Thomas Jet Centre, St. Thomas; Provo Air Centre, Turks & Caicos.