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‘War on high air fares’

Gercine Carter

‘War on high air fares’

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The Launch of the Caribbean’s newest airline Redjet has been met with a deluge of early bookings for its US$9.99 fares and CEO Ian Burns yesterday declared “the war on high air fares has truly begun”.
REDjet opened bookings on its website and through a call centre on Wednesday, after finally securing approval from the Barbadian regulatory authorities for its operation.
As initially promised, the airline is offering base fares as low as BDS$19.99 excluding taxes and charges on all routes, for flights to three islands initially, beginning on May 8 to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
Flights to Guyana will commence on May 10 and to Kingston, Jamaica, on May 11.
“This is no gimmick. It’s for sure. It’s for real,” an enthusiastic Burns stated yesterday as he addressed a Press launch at Hilton Barbados.
The CEO said fares would on average be “60 per cent less than the current market fares”, a factor which he claimed “marks the beginning of a permanent end to high fares in the region”.
REDjet will operate two 149-seater aircraft acquired from American Airlines – “workhorses of the skies” by Burns’ account. The 87 employees include technical and management expertise drawn from other airlines across the world, and Burns said despite being a “low fare airline” safety, maintenance and regulation were paramount in REDjet’s operations.
“We want to create multiple bases across the Caribbean so that everyone in the Caribbean can have a low fare and can travel and can access all parts of the Caribbean through a significant network. We want to create easy, affordable and reliable transport,” Burns said as he explained how REDjet intended to revolutionise intra-regional travel.
Burns believed the new airline would stir competition among airlines operating in the region, driving down fares and “bringing for the first time, choice to the consumer”.
Sales manager Alicia Lynch explained that fares would range upwards from the BDS$19.99 base, and she quoted round trip fares of BDS$232 from Barbados to Jamaica, $177 to Trinidad and $170 Guyana, on the economy-class-only airline.