REDjet welcomes third Craft to its Fleet: ‘Nickitastic’ – Opening Remarks from CEO Ian Burns
Today marks another milestone for REDjet and our investment and growth in Barbados and the Caribbean. Today we mark the arrival of our 3rd MD-80 aircraft to the REDjet fleet and its home in Grantley Adams International Airport. This aircraft marks REDjet’s continued ambition to roll out its low fares and offer choice to consumers at home here in Barbados and across the Caribbean.
The aircraft will enable REDjet to add a further 250,000 seats and marks an investment in Barbados worth some BDS$10m in equipment, training and employment. Most importantly however, the aircraft will enable REDjet to launch a further 6 routes from our base in Barbados in 2012 and provide even more operational robustness to REDjet and our operation and passengers.
The Aircraft’s arrival is only possible with the support and hard work of our partners and I would like to thank Grantley Adams International Airport for making the airport a home for REDjet, our employees and now our third aircraft. While we all appreciate Grantley Adams International Airport has to treat all airlines equally we do as the only airline of Barbados with aircraft based here require additional services and accommodation and David Barrow and his staff have been wonderful in supporting and facilitating REDjet.
The aircraft is named ‘Nickitastic’ and represents the life, excitement and passion that REDjet brings to the aviation market. Nickitastic will help REDjet deliver 36,000 seats over the festive season in December and January. These are 36,000 new seats to Barbados and it is an early Christmas present to the economy. It will mean a better Christmas for hotels, restaurants, bars, taxis, and tourist attractions etc as more people from the region can come to visit Barbados to see loved ones, or just come for vacation and share what Barbados has to offer over the festive season. It is also a great opportunity for people who live in Barbados to visit their friends and loved ones over the holiday season and in the New Year and REDjet continues to work to bring people closer together.
REDjet’s arrival as Barbados’ Low Fares Airline could not come at a better time for the country as Grantley Adams International Airport has suffered losses of over 125,000 passengers from its 4 biggest neighbouring markets Trinidad, St Lucia, Antigua and St Maarten over the past 2 years, because of the reduction in services from the 2 historic regional airlines, and these reductions represent a financial loss to Barbados of $58m. Obviously the other countries have suffered similar losses also and as soon as REDjet is allowed fly to these destinations, the losses will not only be made good, but many more people will now be able to travel within the region and Nickitastic will help provide the airlift to make this a reality.
- REDjet also created history on Friday when for the very first time a Barbados airline was crewed entirely by Barbadians with Captain Mark Holford and First officer Neil St Hill, in charge of flight RD 205 to Port of Spain, Trinidad.
REDjet also employed a further 10 new call centre staff bringing our total staff now to just under 100 and with the arrival of the third aircraft we will now be able to employ a further 50 staff.
The region needs more affordable airlift for consumers and all airlines need to make it sustainable in terms of being able to operate without the massive subsidies they have required to date. These subsidies take valuable tax dollars out of the economy of the region and the individual countries, and adversely affecting education, health, security and infrastructure. REDjet is providing the impetus intra-regional tourism needs to recover the massive losses incurred over the past 5 years which have seen passenger numbers drop by over 30% and fares increase by over 50%. The region needs intra-regional travel and it is the only way in the short to medium term to stimulate economic growth in the region.
The drive to create more routes and capacity into North America is sucking business out of the region and, whilst you cannot blame consumers for choosing the North America over the Caribbean when fares to US and schedule are cheaper and better than in the region itself, positive action is required to retain these valuable dollars in the region and build a much stronger intra-regional tourism market.
We support any initiative such as the CSME that the governments of the region undertake to make it easier for CARICOM citizens to travel in the region and reduce passenger taxes and immigration delays.
REDjet is the only airline in the region whose ambition is to reduce the cost of travel so everyone can fly. It’s a fact that fares have only reduced on routes REDjet flies and in other cases fares are being increased in an attempt in the subsidise the loss of revenues on REDjet routes, which only highlights the need for Governments to approve REDjet so that all consumers in the region can benefit from low fares and also their economies which will also benefit financially and socially from greater volumes of travellers.
Thank you for coming today and sharing with REDjet on the momentous occasion of the latest aircraft into its fleet, and its ability to provide another 250,000 seats annually into the region building on REDjet’s vision that everyone can fly.