Caribbean International Airways Ltd. was registered September 1, 1970 at Bridgetown, Barbados. Its purpose was to provide a fillip for the Barbados tourist industry as well as to make low cost travel available to Barbadians living in the United Kingdom. The first flight was in December 1970.
By March 1987, it was decided that the airline would no longer carry out flying operations as its original mandate had been fulfilled and Government was no longer inclined to fund the losses. The decision was made that the company should shift focus to the provision of services at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
In exploring new business, it was decided to establish the Club Caribbean and appointed Caribbean Airways to manage the operation. In July 1990, the In Bound Duty Free Shop was established and sales commenced in the following August. Two years later its name was changed to The Arrivals Duty Free Shop.
With the renovation and upgrade of the facilities at the Grantley Adams International Airport and the offering of sixteen new duty free shops, it was decided to partner with Aer Rianta International (a company ultimately owned by the government of Ireland and in the duty free business for 60 years) to bid for eleven shops through a jointly established company, Caribbean ARI Inc. In 2006 the doors of the Arrivals Duty Free Shop were closed and Caribbean Airways together with its partner Aer Rianta International (ARI) signed a comprehensive retail concession agreement with Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. Caribbean ARI Inc. commenced commercial operations in March of 2007.
The Barbados Government is the sole shareholder of Caribbean Airways.