REDjet blames Barbados Air Transport for delays

(Trinidad Express) In light of a weekend report that the low cost carrier REDjet is in jeopardy of maintaining its mandate due to exhaustion of its US$8M funds, the management of the airline is pointing finger at the Barbados Air Transport Licensing Authority for the unusual and excessive delays. These delays, management said, have been a cost to the airline.

Ian Burns, chairman and chief executive officer, REDjet said the airline had been subject to excessive delays in Barbados from Air Transport Licensing Authority and there is no indication when licence applications to fly between Barbados and St Lucia, St Kitts, Antigua, St Maarten and Grenada will be determined.

“While, these delays are subject to normal commercial risks that airlines face or should face, it is unusual that an airline with this status should face these challenges.” Therefore, Burns noted that REDjet, the Barbados-based airline has looked to the Barbados government to bring about a speedy resolution of these applications, as the airline is the only designated carrier of Barbados.

However, he attributed these challenges to a disconnect between the political approvals received from the Government last year and current approvals. “But we are seeking to have these two positions realigned,” he said. The weekend report stated that Ralph “Bizzy” Williams, one of the airline’s investors said REDjet requires US$8 million to maintain its mandate, which is to provide affordable air transport for Caribbean people.

If the airline does not acquire the funds, it would be in jeopardy, Williams said. He noted the airline received US $8 million, but the funds were used up in operating expenses during the initial months of its business and the funds are exhausted. When asked if the airline required US $8M to survive, in an email response, Burns said, “REDjet, like many businesses, has planned on an on-going basis to invest in it growth and development.

He then spoke about the unusual delays and challenges that the airline faced from the Barbados Air Transport Licensing Authority. Asked if the US $8M has been exhausted due to operating cost, he said, “REDjet has a number of planned developments and it is the management’s responsibility to deliver milestones for its shareholders.”

But Burns admitted that any serious delays do cost money and it was frustrating when delays are avoidable. He added that REDjet has funding in place, conditional on meeting shareholder and banking covenants. As such, “the airline is working with the Government to ensure these covenants are brought into line with expectations.” Burns stated clearly that there were no plans to increase fares or to reduce its flights or destinations as a remedy to fulfil its mandate.

REDjet has all its required resources to deliver its planned and advertised schedule and maintain its business model, which is working very well, he said.

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