Tourism Minister speaks out on REDjet!

Barbados-based airline REDjet suspended all flight operations over the weekend and said it would seek government aid to resume competition against state-backed rivals.
The suspension came just ten months after starting-up with flights to Trinidad, later expanding to Guyana, Antigua, St Lucia, St Maarten and Jamaica, branding itself as the region’s first low-cost carrier.
REDjet also noted that they were willing to continue operations if assistance was forthcoming from Regional governments. “As indicated, REDjet is hopeful that we will be given a small part of the State assistance others receive, as it will allow us to get our recently approved and exciting new routes established and profitable. Once this happens, our shareholders and staff will do their utmost to see that there is no return to high fares and business as usual.”
However, St Lucia’s Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus says it is unlikely that governments in the region will consider subsidizing REDjet at this stage.
“For us to consider subsidizing a private enterprise like REDjet . . . I don’t think governments in the region would want to do that. Then again, the sort of support that government gives to LIAT as a regional airline has been there for the Caribbean region and LIAT may contend that they haven’t been given the sort of support that they should and they operate from the same footing as other airlines but at the end of the day we are going to look at the entire thing to see what is in the best interest of St Lucia and the region,” said Theophilus.
He further explained that should government have a stake in the industry it should go through LIAT “and that is where our allegiance should lie because LIAT is a regional carrier but we will continue to support other airlines that do come up such as REDjet.”
He stated that his government would not like to see REDjet leave but will have to make a very important decision as to the future of the airline in St Lucia and the region.

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