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St Lucia questions delay in REDjet service

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

St Lucia questions delay in REDjet service

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CASTRIES, St. Lucia – St Lucia is asking the Barbados government to state why it has not given the green light for the low cost budget carrier, REDjet to operate between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet, who has just returned from the United Kingdom where he held talks with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, said he is concerned at the delay in getting REDjet to being operations here.
“We have written a letter to the Barbados authorities querying that decision as St. Lucia had given REDjet approval to fly between Barbados and St. Lucia for some time now,” Chastanet said.
 He said that despite a number of teething problems facing REDjet in recent days, he is still looking forward to the airline providing air services to local travellers.
Chastanet said he was also awaiting word on the start up of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) service into St. Lucia.
“I know the clock is ticking with them as well because they have nine ATR’s that they are taking delivery in November, so clearly there are strong indications of an increase in intra-regional services before the end of the year.” 
Chastanet said he was also concerned that British Airways had announced plans to reduce its flights to the Caribbean.
“The news is not good for the Caribbean which continues to feel the effect of the APD (Air Passenger Duty) tax on passenger travel. BA has cut services to Montego Bay, and had cut flights to Barbados from 12 to seven per week. 
“St. Lucia was fortunate to have retained its daily services, with the only change being instead of going on to Trinidad seven days a week, one of the services will instead go to Grenada from St. Lucia.
“But in terms of the total number of seats into St. Lucia those will remain the same, so that St. Lucia will remain non-stop both ways,” Chastanet said, adding that the talks with Virgin Airways were also positive with the airline due to announce its new schedule by month end.