REDjet grounded due to financial problems
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday March 19, 2012 – After just 10 months in the skies, low-cost carrier REDjet is grounded due to financial problems.
The Barbados-based airline needs an $8 million injection, and government support so it can take to the skies once again. Without such help, the future of the airline is uncertain.
The airline suspended all flights to its nine destinations with effect from 11:59 p.m. on Friday night until further notice. This move placed over 90 employees on the breadline, resulted in a number of passengers being stranded and a strain on regional travel.
The latest turn of events has also raised the question of whether or not the cost of regional travel will once again increase, or if air fare will remain low.
The airline which is owned by father and son Ian and Robbie Burns took to the skies last May, putting forward a model designed to bring affordable travel to the Caribbean from as low as $19.98 before taxes.
And the owners have given the assurance that they are willing to continue providing affordable air transport across the Caribbean if they could receive a small part of the state assistance given to other airlines.
Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy said the Barbados Tourism Authority was willing to work with the airline in the area of joint marketing, and expressed hope that it would soon be up and running once again.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, also noted that it was difficult for regional governments to continue subsidising carriers.
However, the grounding of the airline has not gone down well with passengers, some of whom purchased tickets within minutes of the airline’s announcement that all flights were being suspended.
Passengers flooded the airline’s Facebook page expressing their frustration over the airline’s lack of communication with them about what was happening to allow them to better plan for their travel. Some passengers are also demanding their money back.
Meanwhile, LIAT has already stepped forward and made special arrangements to assist stranded passengers from Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia and Trinidad. Caribbean Airlines indicated it would adjust its scheduled operations by adding additional seats on its aircraft to accommodate the numbers. REDjet served Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and announced the launch of service to Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday, one day before it closed its operations.