‘REDjet is here so everyone can fly’

From left: Permanent Secretary Titus Preville, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophius and REDjet’s Ian Burns.

He may be new on the job but Lorne Theophilus is quickly settling into his governmental role as the island’s tourism minister. As expected, Theophilus has been the key feature of numerous tourism related events, including a ceremony marking the inaugural flight of REDjet to the Hewannora airport in St Lucia on Friday, November 16.
Minutes before proceeding to the VIP room within the airport for a signatory function passengers aboard REDjet’s first commercial flight to St Lucia from Barbados got quite the warm welcome. Ian Burns was the first speaker on the occasion and REDjet’s chief executive officer told the audience he stood before them “absolutely thrilled” beyond words” to formally introduce the airline.
“I am extremely proud to bring our product to the Helen of the West,” Burns expressed. “Without the support of the administration of St Lucia and other countries REDjet just would not be around. We’ve had fantastic support from St Lucia and we’re very thankful for the support that has come to us.”
Burns noted REDjet was at the heart of the consumer and the airline was acutely aware of the need for healthy competition in the aviation industry and the significance air transport had for development in the region.
As the REDjet team, passengers of the inaugural flight and St Lucian tourism counterparts looked on, Burns promised unbeatable low fares on every flight and made it known that REDjet promised to be the number one customer service provider in the region. According to Burns, REDjet has already delivered a 94 percent on time performance and delayed baggage on their airline is the lowest of all in the region.
“We promise to offer the only non-stop jet service in the region so we promise to get you there cheaper and faster than ever before,” he continued. “We didn’t even have time to blink before we were up [from Barbados] and we were down [in St Lucia] again, so that’s great news for everyone. We always promise to be upfront. We’re not always going to get everything right but when we don’t get it right we promise to listen to our consumers and do everything to fix it. We will continue to do that.”
Thus far REDjet’s CEO describes passenger response as “fantastic” for an airline that started off just a couple months ago. Although he admitted having faced what he called political barriers, “both now and I’m sure in the future” Burns felt consumers in the region were being deprived of affordable travel and as a result he said economies in the region were being deprived of much needed revenue.”
“People are now flying who never flew before, markets are growing and St Lucia will hopefully grow as well,” Burns elaborated. “We will bring over 60 percent reduction in cost of travel from Barbados to St Lucia.”
St Lucia represents their sixth destination and seventh route within the REDjet network. In terms of issues facing tourism Burns said REDjet was “here to play its part, as part of the solution to bring more interregional tourism into the market.
Historically within any part of the world, low fare airlines have been the catalyst of driving economic growth and growth in travel all around the world and we hope REDjet will be given the opportunity to play this role in the region.”.
REDjet starts off its services with two flights a week, on Fridays and Sundays with 15 percent of fares on each flight as low as US9.99.
“We only started selling the route a couple weeks ago yet the bookings we’ve received demonstrate the pent up demand there is for people who travel between Barbados and St Lucia,” Burns said. “The response we’ve received is unbelievable. We see this as a very positive sign to grow not only this route, but develop more inter-regional routes from St Lucia.”
At his turn Lorne Theophilus noted that it gave him great pleasure in his capacity as minister for tourism, heritage and creative industries to make brief remarks.
“It’s been awhile in the making and has perhaps taken more time than originally anticipated, but finally, what is important is that REDjet is here. Barbados, a major regional source market finds itself among three topmost Caribbean markets for St Lucia. Increasing airlift has always been a matter of key interest for us . . . The government will
always be willing to provide whatever assistance possible to move business into reality.”
On behalf of the government of St Lucia Theophilus wished REDjet future success.

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