BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday May 30, 2011 – A petition has been created by supporters of regional low-cost carrier REDjet to force the authorities in Jamaica and Trinidad to give the airline clearance to fly there.
The ‘Freedom of Caribbean Air Travel’ petition, created over the weekend, had garnered more than 125 signatures from people all across the region, including those two countries, by this morning.
The document, addressed to the Governments of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, appeals for an explanation for the REDjet delays.
“The blocking of this air carrier could also produce job losses in the carrier itself, and in other services it uses such as marketing, aircraft ground services and airport counter services if it is prolonged,” it reads in part.
“We, the people, would like to know the reasons for the blocking of REDjet from these destinations. We look forward to Caribbean air travel that is affordable, available to all, that can face competition and grow from it.”
Last Thursday, REDjet announced that it had scrapped plans to operate flights between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and had also postponed the service between Barbados and Jamaica until July 24, citing ongoing regulatory delays.
The announcement came the same day that Trinidad and Tobago’s national carrier, Caribbean Airlines (CAL), and Air Jamaica completed their merger.
Jamaica says REDjet wait not unusual
The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has since sought to explain the reason for the delays.
Director-General Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby told Radio Jamaica over the weekend that there was no deliberate attempt to thwart the Barbados-based airline’s plans to fly to that country.
“The only thing that could perhaps affect an airline flying to Jamaica is the various agreements that we have in place,” he said.
Derby then acknowledged that the JCAA held off on making a decision on REDjet’s application until after the CAL/Air Jamaica signing to ensure there was no conflict with that merger.
“It was a precautionary measure to ensure that that agreement, which was signed, (would) not contain anything conflicting, so that we can move ahead with REDjet. We have absolutely no intention – the JCAA and I can speak confidently for the Government of Jamaica in this regard – to do anything that would cause any interruption or turning back of a legitimate application to operate services in Jamaica,” he told the radio station.
“We have to make sure that the agreements are not conflicting and once that is so, the approval will be given as required or as appropriate.”
There has still been no word out of Trinidad as to the reasons for the delays there.
REDjet currently operates between Barbados and Guyana.
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