ON HOLD: REDjet ordered to stop selling Trini flights
The red light for the low-cost carrier has come from Trinidad and Tobago’s Civil Aviation Authority, less than three weeks before the low cost-carrier is to begin flying.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday April 20, 2011 – REDjet’s planned flights here appear to be in jeopardy with the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) reportedly ordering the low-cost carrier to stop advertising and booking flights to and from the twin-island republic.
According to the Trinidad Guardian newspaper, TTCAA Director General Ramesh Lutchmedial confirmed that the Authority had sent a letter to the Barbados-based REDjet yesterday, instructing the airline to immediately cease advertising fares and making bookings until it receives permission from the relevant authorities.
This comes two days after Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner said that REDjet had not been granted approval to fly into Trinidad.
Efforts to get comment from REDjet about whether it had received the correspondence from TTCAA and what course of action it would take have been unsuccessful so far. Neither has the company responded to the latest development or questions posted by consumers on its Facebook page.
However, when Caribbean360 checked the airline’s website this morning, advertisements and bookings for flights to and from Trinidad from Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica were still continuing.
REDjet said in a statement on Monday, after Warner’s comments, that it had received all the required regulatory approvals from the Air Transport Licensing Authority of Barbados under the Air Services Agreements between that country and other states, including the agreement between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, to commence current commercial activities.
But Lutchmedial has insisted that obtaining a license in Barbados did not give REDjet automatic right to fly into Trinidad and Tobago. He said the Air Transport Licensing Authority of Barbados still had to comply with laws in other countries.
Warner, meantime, has insisted that the country is not afraid of competition which REDjet is expected to bring for Trinidad and Tobago’s Caribbean Airlines and regional carrier LIAT.
The controversy over where REDjet can and can’t fly comes less than three weeks before its scheduled May 8 start of commercial flights.
Since bookings opened last week, some flights have been fully booked. It is unclear what will happen to travelers who have already booked travel to Trinidad if the current situation is not rectified.
REDjet not looking at US just yet
Meantime, REDjet has sought to clear the air on reports that it has been denied application to fly into the United States.
In a note posted on its Facebook page, the company said it had not made any request to begin US routes.
“REDjet is focused on our initial routes within the region which have seen strong demand and have no plans to fly to the United States presently,” it said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration announced last Tuesday that Barbados does not meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Therefore, any Barbados-based airline that does not already serve the US – which would include REDjet – will not be able to establish a route.