Monday, 19 March 2012 02:29
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - There has been widespread regional disappointment following the abrupt suspension of REDjet's services.
Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Chairman Ricky Skerritt said the news had caught him by surprise. He said, "This is clearly a disappointing development since the Caribbean needs REDjet."
Allen Chastanet, St Lucia's former tourism minister said, “We have to sit down and start looking at aviation in a holistic sense." He called for a policy that would allow “all CARICOM registered companies to fly equally”.
LIAT Chairman Jean Holder was busy over the weekend ensuring the airline could accommodate stranded passengers.
He told regional media, “We have given REDjet the assurance that we’ll do anything we can do to assist in this difficulty. That’s how airlines work. When in difficulty we help each other. You can’t just leave people stranded. The decent thing is to do all you can to move the traffic, and we’ve already started."
REDjet CEO Ian Burns released the following statement about the shut-down.
The shareholders and staff of REDjet wish to sincerely thank all our passengers and supporters for enabling our airline to achieve the tremendous feat of breaking the high fare experience of many Caribbean passengers, while increasing regional travel numbers for the first time in decades.
We at REDjet set out to deliver the Caribbean’s first affordable air service and we have successfully launched a small number of routes that have in their performance, demonstrated the necessity and popularity for a low fares service in the region.
Our aircraft and our dedicated staff are performing extremely well and we are willing and able to continue to provide affordable transport across the Caribbean and beyond but we cannot.
Unlike the heavily subsidized airlines that serve the region, REDjet does not receive any assistance. As indicated, REDjet is hopeful that we will be given a small part of the State assistance others receive, as it will allow us to get our recently approved and exciting new routes established and profitable.
Once this happens, our shareholders and staff will do their utmost to see that there is no return to high fares and business as usual.
We have seen other carriers drastically cut their fares in an effort to shut down REDjet and return to high fares and business as usual with no regard to the negative impact on travelers. Unlike us, they do not have to be profitable to stay in business.
In spite of their subsidized efforts, our passenger numbers have continued to rise because you, our patrons, enjoy our clean, comfortable and well maintained aircraft as well as our excellent service delivered at affordable ticket prices.
REDjet has no alternative but to suspend flights from 23:59pm on 16th March until further notice. All passengers booked on any REDjet flight from Saturday should contact the call centre 24 hours before scheduled departure time for an update on their flight.