REDjet, the self styled low cost airline of the Caribbean, launched its service to Jamaica on Monday, November 21, 2011.
At the inaugural flight ceremony which took place in the Upper Passenger Pier of the Norman Manley International Airport, several persons representing stakeholders from both Jamaica and Barbados were on hand to welcome the newest carrier to the island.
In a comprehensive presentation focusing on the airline’s operations and offerings, Mr. Ian Burns, CEO of REDjet said that he was very pleased to be finally in ‘Jamrock’. He said that the airline was ‘committed to delivering low fares to the Caribbean.’ He said that currently, there were two aircraft servicing the Jamaican rout but that a third would soon be acquired. He noted that the airline makes four promises that they intended to keep; these he outlined as:
• Low fares
• Reliable service
• Non-stop service
• The ability to have consumers choose and pay for exactly what they want
• Honesty in all that is done
These promises Mr. Burns said would be facilitated by the simplified business model under which the airline operated. In this model, it is the consumers who ‘drive’ the business. He mentioned that there were 149 economy seats on board the aircraft and that the leg room was more on any other comparable aircraft. Some of the other advantages he highlighted were:
• A $9.99 fare
• A 23 minute turnaround time
• A 92% on time performance
• A 78% load factor thus far
Mr. Burns said that the airline planned to add more routes in the region as well as establish a call centre in Jamaica to handle the expected increase in the volume of business. This, he said would result in more jobs for persons and further development of the region.
Also speaking at the welcome ceremony was Minister Mike Henry under whose portfolio, air transport falls. Minister Henry used the opportunity to welcome REDjet to Jamaica and lauded its principals for the patience exhibited in dealing with the airline’s entrance into Jamaica. Minister Henry said that REDjet’s entry will make for a more competitive environment for air transport which would in turn ultimately redound to the benefit of consumers in the region. He welcomed REDjet saying that the airline’s presence will assist in advancing the cause of the multi-modal transport model he has been promoting.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Barbados, Senator Harcourt Husbands said he was particularly pleased to have been part of the historic occasion where it was the first time a commercial Barbadian airline was flying to Jamaica. He said the airline’s entry was important in the context of regional travel and how that functioned in areas such as sports and education. He expressed the hope that this will usher in new business opportunities among the countries in the region.
Other speakers at the function included, Mr. Earl Richards, President and CEO of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), Custos William Shagoury, Chairman, AAJ and Reverend Lenworth Haughton who blessed the proceedings. Commander John McFarlane, Director, Aviation Security, AAJ sang the National Anthem.