Low Cost Airline Ceased Operations Recently
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 17, 2012 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt, wants Caribbean governments to reach out to grounded low-cost airline REDjet to ensure its return to the Caribbean skies soon.
Minister Skerritt, in Guyana for the 13th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, told journalists in Georgetown on Monday that there is a “pent-up” demand for air travel in the region, especially with the spiral cost for regional airlift.
Mr. Skerritt, who also chairs the Caribbean Tourism Organization, said high air travel cost will have dire consequences on regional tourism in the very near future.
He noted that REDjet’s recent suspension of its services, presents a valuable lesson to be learnt about the importance of affordable air transportation.
“You speak to Barbados and Guyana ministers which I have had the privilege to do with both just within the last week and both of them will tell you that REDjet was a major asset to them, it also stimulated competition” Skerritt remarked, adding that “Caribbean governments need to sit down and discuss whether you are an equity investor or not. What is needed to bring about affordable sustainable travel in the Caribbean.”
He wants regional governments to meeting the grounded airline’s officials and offered up the CTO to facilitate such gathering.
“I hope that by the time we meet for the State of the Industry conference in October this year in St. Kitts. What I hoped is that by then there would have been a significant (development) in the region and come to grips with the problem because OECS (Organisation of Easter Caribbean States) ministers met recently and this was the theme.
Recently REDjet officials met with Guyana’s ministers of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Works to seek the country’s financial assistance in getting the carrier back in the Caribbean skies, however no definite position has been met.
The airline is also seeking outside investors, including from Venezuela.
REDjet suspended its operations early last month due to financial troubles, after it complained that it could not compete with other airlines that are receiving government subsidy, including the state-owned Trinidad Carrier Caribbean Airlines, which is receiving hefty fuel subsidy from the T&T government.
Trinidad is the only Caribbean country that revoked REDjet’s licence after the airline announced it was suspending operations.
However the Guyana government, one of the strong supporters of the airline’s entry to the regional market, said it has no intentions of suspending or revoking thier licence.