Airline promising 10-dollar regional fares

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday October 13, 2010 – Low-cost carrier Airone is promising it will soon provide cheap intra-regional travel – with fares as low as US$9.99.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ian Burns told the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) Leadership Strategy Conference that the model will be unveiled on December 1st.

In a presentation at the conference, Burns outlined the airline’s plans to make intra-regional travel “affordable, accessible and profitable” through a low-fare, no-frills model. 

“Our model is a European model,” he said, pointing to Ryanair’s success and profitability with very low fares. “We believe there’s room for a regional short-haul carrier between the intercontinental long-haul and the intra-island market.”

Burns outlined the challenges facing air travel in the region, including expensive infrastructure, a heavy regulatory burden and reliance on public ownership. And he called for lower taxes and airport charges, increased capacity at lower-cost airports, and the better matching of aircraft types for each route.

LIAT CEO Brian Challenger, who said that the Antigua-based carrier was a legacy carrier and not a low-cost one, expressed his doubts about the Airone plan. But he did share Burns’ concern about high costs, stressing that it was an industry-wide challenge.

Challenger called on the CTO to facilitate dialogue and “partnership between all tourism stakeholders, including airlines, hotels, tourism and airport authorities, to lower the costs of intra-regional air travel.” 

He pointed to simpler fare structures, revenue guarantee agreements and efforts to improve efficiency in aircraft performance as possible solutions.

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