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.
Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. ( )