Tag Archives: RedJet

REDjet on the edge of financial collapse?

UPDATED: REDjet denies rumours. Says route closures are about expansion

Ian Bourne has the story at The Bajan Reporter.

Too bad: but that’s what happens when the competition is government funded – and governments stand in your way to protect their own businesses.

The Nation is reporting that REDjet is cutting back 56 flights because the low-cost start-up is running out of money.

Local investor Ralph “Bizzy” Williams told The Nation that he and his Irish partners are unwilling to invest any further as they were “fed up with the way their investment had been treated by the Barbados government.

Not the best advertisement in the world for Invest Barbados, fuh sur, but actually a common scenario. Many folks come into the Caribbean looking to start a business or even a hotel – only to later discover that the competition is funded by the deep pockets of government one way or another. That’s tough competition!

Remember the GEMS hotels were all heavily subsidized by government as is the current Barbados Hilton. I wonder how many of the recently closed hotels in Barbados might have survived without competition from government-owned businesses?

Perhaps REDjet could have made it on a level playing field, but there’s no such thing in the Caribbean.

Advertisements

19 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

RedJET benefiting from hidden fuel subsidy?

Who are RedJET’s shareholders & investors?

By “Jay Jay”

LIAT  is struggling to survive against Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines which is getting the, possibly illegal, benefit of subsidized jet fuel.

Now, LIAT is getting competition from RedJet. Nobody appears to know who are the investors in this company are, but there are strong rumours that a major shareholder in the airline is also a major shareholder in one of the islands biggest suppliers of fuel, also supplied at cost price. Who could that be, and is that legal?

We are all shareholders in LIAT. Our ministers need to look in to this situation.

7 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados

Loveridge: Jamaica’s protectionism hurting Caribbean unity, tourism

PM Golding tilts the playing field against REDjet and Barbados

In the next 24 hours, some 6,000 people will read this article by Adrian Loveridge. We can only hope that Jamaica’s Prime Minister will be among them.

Has REDjet been treated fairly?

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

It’s a big question and without all the facts in hand it would be difficult to be totally objective.

However, if you ask the questions, is the concept of a low cost carrier desirable in the Caribbean and can it be made to work, then the answers have to be yes, and probably if they are allowed to operate in a truly commercial environment.

When you can book a week-long cruise that visits seven Caribbean islands with travel, accommodation and food all included for less than the cost of a return airline ticket to one of those territories, then something has to be fundamentally wrong.

LIAT now enjoys a virtual monopoly on certain routes out of Barbados, which includes Puerto Rico after the withdrawal of American Eagle.

According to their website, the cheapest return flights (a round trip of 1,140 miles) bookable in late June to San Juan is US$664.09, which includes a whopping US$176.09 in taxes and add-ons.

For exactly the same dates, return flights to New York with American Airlines cost US$615.50 (including US$177.50 in taxes) and US$664.80 (US$166.80 taxes) with JetBlue, a journey involving 4,182 miles or nearly four times farther both in miles and flying distance than Puerto Rico.

“If LIAT had competition on the San Juan route of course fares would be lower and that is why we need an airline like REDjet.”

REDjet has been criticised by some for having not having a viable business plan but does LIAT or the amalgamated Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica?

Without past massive taxpayer subsidies all three of these carriers would have perished by the wayside years ago and the much delayed partial assimilation of the ‘Lovebird’ by CAL has also been finally made possible only after the government of Jamaica wrote-off off huge debts.

And we have to remember that in its entire 42-year history, Air Jamaica recorded a profit in only one of them, 1986.

So when we talk about fairness, what do we really mean?

To the best of my knowledge the owners of REDJet have not asked any government for taxpayer bailouts, heavily subsidised fuel, preferential interest rates or any other major concessions. They just want to operate in a commercially level playing field where competition, supply and demand and all the other factors that in the ‘real world’ decide economic survival or failure.

The people of Jamaica now own a 16 percent stake of Caribbean Airlines and it has been designated that island’s national carrier to the world.

Clearly, Prime Minister Golding is keen to protect that interest and recently stated he was “not saying the REDjet application would not be approved, but it would have to be allowed with the CAL deal in mind”.

Perhaps he has every right to be so protective, but does it really foster better Caribbean unity or take us a step closer to marketing the region as one?

The writing is on the wall, the president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism has already graphically warned that summer tourism business is down.

REDjet has clearly demonstrated that it can drive additional traffic to Guyana and there is no reason to believe it wouldn’t be the same for Trinidad and Kingston. This just may reduce the real risk of additional hotel closures and job losses this year.

8 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Jamaica

Jamaican Prime Minister alleges dirty tricks in Barbados airline war

PM Golding says Barbados “held up” Caribbean Airlines aircraft in “aggressive action”

The REDjet saga continues with the Jamaican Prime Minister accusing Barbados of harassing a Caribbean Airlines aircraft at Grantley Adams International Airport.

“What I’m told took place two days ago when a Caribbean Airlines plane was held up, I don’t want to use the word detained, in Barbados and the suspicion is that it is an aggressive action, and I hope it is not, because that is not the way we in Caricom should resolve our issues.”

PM Golding to The Gleaner: Red Jet Row Heightens

29 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Politics

REDjet gives up on Trinidad & Tobago – Jamaica route

Barbados – Jamaica flights also postponed for two months

by BFP with contributions from a special friend

REDjet announced today that the airline will not pursue plans to fly between Jamaica and Trinidad, and that the Barbados – Jamaica route is postponed for two months.

The story behind the story…

Some observers wonder how long REDjet can continue, and whether the forces aligned against the new Caribbean airline will be successful in squeezing the financial life from the upstart before it really gets off the ground. There is a story behind the story but nobody is really telling it because REDjet officials have been keeping their silence in the hope that they will be able to work things out with the various Caribbean governments.

Says a special friend to Barbados Free Press: “If it doesn’t work out and REDjet ultimately fails, the fireworks will really start. Robbie Burns is a consummate diarist. It won’t be pretty.”

Further Reading

BFP May 13, 2011 – REDjet Update: Political problems with Trinidad and Jamaica

17 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference cancelled – lack of interest!

Is this a problem with the organisation behind the conference, or something that goes much deeper?

Is this a backlash against Barbados for REDjet, Shanique Myrie, CARICOM movement rights, health care for immigrants and a host of other grievances?

by WSD

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association just announced that their (ahem) “much anticipated” inaugural annual summit scheduled for June 1-3 in Barbados has been cancelled due to low registration numbers. Unmentioned in the brief press sheet are the reasons why the conference failed – or if the organizers have even started to understand what happened.

Your writer is not in the tourism business, but I have some questions and observations as an ordinary Bajan. Let’s see if my thoughts are shared or disputed by those in tourism and Barbadians in general.

Barbados and the BHTA were heavily committed to this conference, but the conference website shows only four commercial sponsors – only two of which are major companies recognizable to your non-tourism writer (LG and MasterCard). Was this an adequate level of sponsorship interest for a conference that represented itself to be a major summit by a major organisation?

Contrast the Barbados 4 commercial sponsors with the 22 sponsors of the May 10-12, 2011 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference held in Jamaica.

Was the dearth of sponsors in Barbados a fault of the conference organizers, or fallout from a damaged economy and lower advertising budgets? Was the Barbados conference scheduled too closely to another major event?

Was enough notice given to the tourism industry about the conference itself and the apparently excellent list of speakers? (See BFP’s TripAdvisor’s Brian Payea coming to Barbados)

Backlash against Barbados?

Barbados is under heavy criticism (some of it entirely justified in my opinion) from our Caribbean brothers and sisters over a variety of issues including the lack of health care for LEGAL immigrants and LEGAL visiting workers in Barbados, and the REDjet situation where the airline and the Barbados government failed to show sufficient respect to the laws and sovereignty of Jamaica and T&T.

Then we come to the Shanique Myrie situation where a Jamaican visitor claims she was “finger-raped” by Barbadian authorities upon arrival, held in squalid conditions and deported the next day. Whatever the truth of her story, it doesn’t matter because the damage was done. More important, Shanique Myrie is seen by other Caribbean nationals as just another incident in a long history of similar incidents in Barbados whether reported in the news or not.

Like it or not, the truth is that Barbados as a country and Barbadians as a people are increasingly seen by the rest of the Caribbean as acting arrogantly and disrespectfully in our relations with other nations and on a personal level with visitors.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if this is true or not. It only matters that many other Caribbean nationals believe it is true, or at least have that impression.

It would be a big mistake for Bajans and tourism organizers to assume that the failure of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference is only about the conference itself. There might be something much bigger happening that needs to be recognized and immediately addressed at all levels.

Submitted by BFP reader WSD. Edited and headlined by Marcus.

Further Reading

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference website

eTurboNews: Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association cancels conference

23 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues, Tourism

Adrian Loveridge: REDjet shows Caribbean unity a pipe dream

The REDjet flap…

Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

I would like to add my two cents worth if I may.

It is clear that the heady concepts of Caribbean unity and marketing the region as one are really just illusional pipe dreams. Ultimately, it seems each country is looking after its own interests. Caribbean Air Lines wouldn’t be in the position it is without massive fuel subsidies, LIAT would have failed years ago if again it hadn’t been for huge taxpayer support. Even now it defies commercial logic with the number of employees and the location of its operating base.

Maybe its time for REDjet to review its planned destinations. Montego Bay instead of Kingston, St. Maarten to break the near CAL monopoly and perhaps to look south to Aruba (low fuel costs) or Curacao. Of course San Juan would have been an obvious one if we had secured Category One.

I also think there is some way they could work with the cruise ships to open up the home porting possibilities for not just Barbados but other emerging ports. If they haven’t already done so, they should also be speaking with St. Lucia.

When the new SVG Argyle airport finally opens, things are going to change
and the St. Vincent Government are going to have to at least attempt to justify the airport investment costs and more than one million stated annual handling capacity.

I am also really surprised that with an veteran aviation expert on the BTA payroll that REDjet have found themselves in this predicament.

Submitted as a comment on BFP’s article REDjet Update: Political problems with Trinidad and Jamaica

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Politics