REDjet boss upbeat about St Lucia
HAVING EXCEEDED expectations by opening special routes between Trinidad and Barbados for Kadooment and last Friday’s LOUD concert, REDjet is excited about launching its new service to St Lucia.
REDjet chief executive officer Ian Burns said Tuesday that the airline was finalizing commercial logistics in Castries, and once this was done, it would be set to launch in St Lucia “within the next eight weeks”.
“We have things to do in terms of our commercial set-up, our revenue and distribution channels, the opening of bank accounts and so on,” Burns told the DAILY NATION yesterday.
His comments followed the news that St Lucia could soon benefit from a new link with South and Central America on the low-cost carrier.
St Lucia’s Minister of Tourism Allen Chastanet, fresh out of discussions between REDjet’s senior leadership, Copa Airlines, and the governments of Panama, St Lucia and Barbados, said over the weekend “we are exploring the options of a new service between Panama City, Barbados and St Lucia”, which would further open up the Latin American market to the Eastern Caribbean.
“St Lucians who are interested in shopping in Panama would be able to hop aboard REDjet and within a few short hours sample Latin American culture and its bargain shopping as an alternative to travelling to the United States,” Chastanet added.
Burns, noting that St Lucia was one of the countries it had originally planned to interact with, also stated that REDjet had worked assiduously with the Barbados Tourism Authority to get the Kadooment/LOUD routes in place from Port-of-Spain, and they had been “very successful”.
“Those routes were launched on the Tuesday before Kadooment, and we were happy with the load factors, which were way above what we had expected,” he said, painting a similar picture regarding the Barbados-Guyana route.
The load on REDjet’s flights from Guyana, which were launched in June, has grown by 83 per cent.
“Growth in under three months is phenomenal,” he said, “We’ve suffered quite long delays but the response justifies the belief we have had that the Caribbean wants a low-fare airline.”
Burns said it was still too early to put a time frame on recouping their investment, “but if we can continue to do the right thing and the right routes become available, the region will be in for major growth in tourism and travel, and that will lead to a major effect on the economies”.
Conceding that REDjet had not done everything right the first time, he said the airline was always willing to own up and correct things since it was keen to deliver on its promise.
“Other airlines have to step up to the plate and provide more capacity,” Burns stated.
REDjet has finalized routes to Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Antigua, with discussions ongoing for St Kitts, St Martin, St Lucia and Panama. (RJ)