REDjet admits to not having T&T approval
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday April 22, 2011 – Low cost airline REDjet says a "breakdown of communications and understanding" led to it not securing approval to enter the Trinidad and Tobago market and it has now appealed to the governments of the twin-island republic and Barbados to help them sort out the issues so they can begin flights come May 8.
When questions about who had given the airline permission to operate in Trinidad and Tobago were raised by Transport and Works Minister Jack Warner, REDjet repeatedly pointed out that it had the required regulatory approval from the Air Transport Authority in Barbados under the Air Services Agreement between Trinidad and Tobago to conduct current commercial activities, including the advertising and booking of routes and fares.
It had, however, declined to respond to questions about whether it got approval from Trinidad and Tobago directly. The Barbados-based airline admitted in a statement issued yesterday that it did not.
“REDjet has not received its permission required to operate flights yet. However, REDjet's application is being processed by the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA),” it said.
However, the airline maintained that it had acted at all times in accordance with the procedures, laws and regulations set out in Trinidad and Tobago. It also said it had not yet taken any payment for tickets that had already been booked since that could only be done upon receipt of the required permits.
REDjet – which only formally applied to the TTCAA on Tuesday although it had been promoting and booking flights for a week and a half before – requested “the support of both the Government of Barbados and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to find a speedy resolution that acts in the best interest of the public with regard to safety, security and consumer interests.”
It expressed the hope that all the necessary approval would be given in time for the advertised May 8 start of flights.
However, TTCAA Director General Ramesh Lutchmedial said on Wednesday that was “highly unlikely” given the amount of work the Authority had to do in reviewing REDjet’s compliance with safety and security standards.
He said the application was being evaluated and may require additional information.
“Once this is done and all our investigations and review are complete we will make a recommendation to the Minister of Works and Transport,” Lutchmedial said.
Meantime, REDjet says it has received air transport licences from Guyana and Barbados to operate flights into Trinidad.
The airline is offering base fares from US$9.99 one-way, excluding government taxes and charges, between Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados.
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