The point is that the Government has been fully behind the establishment and operation of the REDjet airline, it has given REDjet the necessary certification … and it is incumbent therefore on this Government to add its voice to the call by REDjet for more prompt treatment in the region than it is getting – Opposition Spokesman Ronald Toppin
REDjet actually got some kind of approval to fly the T&T and Jamaica routes, all that is required to complete the process is something Chairman of REDjet Ian Burns refers to as political and economic approval. In a nutshell the approval just received from Jamaica and Trinidad confirms that the airline satisfies the safety requirements of both countries but …
It has been obvious to BU for sometime the big two i.e. Jamaica and Trinidad have been stonewalling the Barbados registered airline approval application process. The two countries recently mustered the political and economic will to seal the Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines (CAL) merger deal. Perhaps if it required such a long time to seal a deal in their interest, why the hell can’t REDjet wait?
Most surprising has been the feeble defense emanating from the Barbados government and other stakeholders about the position REDjet finds itself. It cannot be said that the local and regional publics have not been made aware of the bureaucratic pummelling Redjet has had to absorb. Both Bizzy Williams, a local investor in the airline and Chairman Burns have been refreshingly vocal on the blatant mamaguying being demonstrated by Trinidad and Jamaica.
REDjet has reported that since its entry to the Barbados/Guyana route, it has seen a 35% increase in traffic. Further, LIAT and CAL have been offering the most attractive fares on the route. There is nothing like competition heh? It is obvious both airlines, which have monopolized regional air routes for 40 years – have been using the marketing approach of charging what the market can bear to mask incompetent management practices through the years or the current price war is an attempt to pressure REDjet financially. The disingenuous behaviour of CAL especially is exposed when one considers the fare slashing in recent times has been on the routes REDjet has signalled an interest to fly.
Last week BU listened to a contributor to a local talk show making the most asinine statement on the view whether REDjet should be given approval to fly by T&T. His position , T&T has had to subsidize BWIA for years so why should another airline be allowed to enter the market and cherry pick business. No wonder the rest of the Caribbean has been kicking Barbados in the rear-end of late. The spineless reaction by government and other players in the Barbados market has shown that we no longer occupy a position of respect in the region. Correction, St. Kitts Prime Minister Denzil Douglas did speak out in defence of Prime Minister Stuart. What a ting!
Time will tell if REDjet overcomes the roadblocks being built in its path by T&T and Jamaica. What has been obvious so far is that REDjet has exposed the hypocrisy in the region regarding the call by regionalists for affordable air travel in the region to facilitate movement of people. The SILENCE of Caricom leaders has been deafening. The longer it takes for REDjet to implement its business model the more it will leak financially leading to the shedding of staff and worst case scenario, closure of the airline. No doubt Trinidad and Jamaica would not lose any sleep over such an outcome.
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart has missed out on a ‘Bin Laden’ moment to rally Barbadians and the region to support REDjet and at the same time boost his political stock.