BWIA West Indies Airways, called "Bwee" by locals, is the national airline of Trinidad and Tobago. It is one of the largest airlines operating out of the Caribbean, and boasts an enviable safety record among its peers.
British West Indian Airways began in 1939 using a Lockheed Lodestar twin on daily services between Barbados. By 1942 the airline had three aircraft of this type. In 1948 BWIA was sold to British South American Airways, but the name 'BWIA' was retained for operating routes among the Caribbean Islands using Vickers Viking twin piston types.
In 1949 BSAA merged with British Overseas Airways Corporation and BWIA became a subsidiary of BOAC. The route network was subsequently expanded and re_equipped. Vickers Viscounts were introduced in 1955 with Bristol Britannias leased in 1960 to fly the long-haul route to London, via New York City. One year later the government of Trinidad and Tobago acquired most of the shares in the airline, and achieved complete ownership by 1967.
The jet age began in 1967 with the introduction of Boeing 727s, which replaced the Viscount turboprops and on the New York route. The London route was re_started in 1975 using Boeing 707 jets. BWIA became BWIA International in 1980 after a merger with Trinidad and Tobago Air Services, becoming the national airline. The same year also saw the Boeing 707s replaced on the London service with a new Lockheed L-1011 Tristar 500s.
By 1994 the airline had become partially privatised. A substantial reorganisation of its route network left London and Frankfurt the only European destinations. The airline ordered Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, then canceled the order in favor of Airbus A321 and Airbus A340 jets; in turn, this order was dropped after only two A321s were delivered. It was renationalised, then re-privatized, with the government of Trinidad and Tobago holding a 50% stake in the airline.
In the early 2000s BWIA changed its livery to a new colorful Caribbean green/blue color with its famous steelpan trademark, the national instrument of its home base. The fleet has been upgraded to seven Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft, two Airbus A340-300s, and two Bombardier De Havilland Q300 Dash 8s used by BWIA's sister airline Tobago Express, which provides service to Trinidad's sister island Tobago.
As of 2003 BWIA was one of the leading Caribbean airlines, carrying over 1.4 million passengers a year with over 600 departures in the Caribbean and another 60 international departures every week. BWIA earns roughly US$276m per year, employs 2,350 staff, has 70 daily flights, and carries 8.1 million kilos (17, 857, 260 pounds) of air cargo per year. Its inflight magazine, Caribbean Beat, is well-regarded.
However, BWIA has also been plagued by losses and has a history of continuous injections of funds from the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
BWIA has hubs in Port-of-Spain and Barbados. It serves New York City, Miami, Florida, Toronto, Washington, DC, London, Manchester, Caracas, Georgetown (Guyana), Suriname, San Josť (Costa Rica), Havana, Santo Domingo, Kingston, Antigua, St. Lucia, Tobago, Grenada, and St. Maarten.
Through a codeshare agreement with United Airlines it offers connecting service to Boston, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. BWIA also has a alliance with another Caribbean airline, LIAT, which together provide over 25 regional destinations.
BWIA's IATA designator code is BW.
BWIA's ICAO designator code is BWA.
BWIA (http://www.bwee.com/) official website