REDjet under Trini probe?
Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner says he plans to investigate how the new regional carrier got approval to operate in Trinidad and Tobago. But the airline says it went through the right channels.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday April 18, 2011 – An announced probe by Trinidad and Tobago’s Works and Transport Minister into who gave REDjet approval to operate out of the twin-island republic has already received a response from the region’s newest carrier – we’re flying above board!
In a brief response to concerned travelers, some of whom have already booked flights out of and into Trinidad and Tobago since tickets on the low-cost carrier went on sale last week, the REDjet sought to assure that they will be able to fly come May 8 when the first flights take to the skies.
“Good morning REDjetters, we have the required regulatory approval from the Air Transport Licencing Authority of Barbados under the Air Services Agreement between Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados to conduct current commercial activities,” the Barbados-based company posted on its Facebook page.
Speaking to the local media yesterday, Warner said that even if Trinidad and Tobago had an agreement with the Barbados Government, it did not automatically follow that REDjet could fly without getting the necessary consent.
“To get in this country you have to get consent from Civil Aviation and they did not get it. As line Minister I do not know anything about it, the Prime Minister (does) not know anything about it,” he said.
“Nothing is wrong with competition, but it must be competition based on respect for?a country laws and regulations,” the Works and Transport Minister added.
Warner said if it was found that REDjet could not operate in Trinidad and Tobago, those who purchased tickets could get refunds.
Fares on REDjet for travel between Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago were launched last Wednesday from US$9.99 one-way excluding government taxes and charges. The fares are less than half offered by its competition – regional airline LIAT and the Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines.
Warner said he did not believe REDjet would pose any competition to Caribbean Airlines, but said he was concerned about the carrier’s low rates.
“Something has to be wrong,” he said of the prices.
REDjet also wants to offer budget flights to the United States. However, The US Federal Aviation Administration announced last Tuesday that Barbados does not meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and, therefore, any Barbados-based airline that does not already serve the US will not be able to establish a route.
Warner said he would also be looking into that.
“Why should it not be good for the US and good for Trinidad and Tobago?," he questioned. "I will check later this week because I don’t know what the details are."
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