Talking to Business Day last week, Robbie Burns, the company’s business development director said there was just one regulatory hurdle to cross — the approval by the Barbados Civil Aviation Authorities of its Airline Operating Certificate (AOC).
That has happened and the REDjet planes are ready to fly carrying passengers who would have paid US$9.99 one way, exclusive of compulsory taxes and other government charges.
He also disclosed the airline had concluded some strategic alliances with international service providers ServisAir and Laparkan.
ServisAir will handle REDjet’s ground operations at Piarco International while Laparkan will take charge of the airline’s travel agency services at the airport. Talks are currently being held with the partners for service in other destinations.
About the new alliances REDjet chairman and chief executive officer Ian Burns said: “The fact that these world renowned companies have chosen to partner with us is testament to the enthusiasm and confidence in the long term strategic value of the REDjet brand and displays the confidence that key industry players have in us. I am certain this confidence will be shared by the hundreds of thousands of passengers who will make REDjet their airline of choice.”
Burns (R) said the airline had already completed “somewhere between 70 and 80 hours of test flights” in readiness for its launch.
Asked about the tail strike which grounded one of the airline’s two MD-72 aircraft at the Grantley Adams International recently, Burns said the aircraft had been repaired and is back in service.
He is confident that as soon as operations begin, intra-Caribbean fares would start to drop, because one of the aims of REDjet to provide more affordable travel for Caribbean people. Burns said he expected fares to drop by as much as 60 percent.
“While we do not consider ourselves competition for the other regional carriers because we are essentially a different product, we do anticipate a decrease in all fares on routes we fly, which is great news for the consumers,” the company director added.
“Being consumer champions, this anticipated move will only serve to further our mission of bringing cheaper and more affordable fares to the Caribbean region.”
Burns insisted low fares were not just a headline gimmick, but rather they were at the centre of the LFA business model adopted by REDjet. He said, REDjet would like to be open about its fares and charges.
“It is this honesty, as well as our low fares and charges that make us different and ensure that REDjet would truly be the consumer champion,” he said.
“Your final payment depends entirely on you. If you are prepared to book early, book at our airport ticket desk and fly on off-peak days, you will be able to fly for US$9.99 or TT$65, plus compulsory government taxes and charges and nothing else on every route. This is what we mean by low fares,” he said.
Burns said all other possible charges were optional, such as checked baggage, priority boarding, call centre or web processing fees, in-flight food and drinks and flight change fees.
Between 15 and 40 seats, or ten to 27 percent of all available seats on a flight would be sold at the lowest fare. After that the fares rise in US$10 increments according to demand as the plane fills up. But the average fare across all routes would be US$59, which is 60 percent cheaper than existing fares.
However, if you were to book in the last week or two, or if the flight demand has been strong and the lowest fares have been sold out, then fares could reach as high as US$99 and above.