Questions Asked Of AIRONE's REDjet

Submitted by Mr. Thompson


What’s really the objectives behind the proposed Airone/Redjet low cost airline.


  • Is it practical to operate MD82, old generation, aircraft on a 15 minute route structure ?
  • Are $9.99Bds fares realistic or practical ?
  • Can REDJET compete with the heavily subsidized LIAT ?
  • Will the FAA grant the airline access to the proposed USA market ?
  • Why did Jamaican Government not allow Airone to set up operations in Jamaica ?
  • Who is the major Barbadian investor listed in the USA Exception Application ?
  • Does Barbados Government Civil Aviation organization have the expertise, experience, regulations etc. to approve, monitor and regulate a heavy commercial passenger carrier ?
  • Are two proposed aircraft sufficient to operate an on time scheduled passenger service considering weather, mechanicals, maintenance etc. ?
  • What Liability Insurance has Barbados demanded of RedJet ?

The above questions cause me some concern; as the saying goes –

if it looks to good to be true then it probably is.

I can envision several questionable reasons to setup such an operation, however most of them involve some sort of shady, illegal, graft or other unethical motives. If Airone/Redjet is indeed trying to setup a legitimate low cost passenger service out of Barbados I would hope, hope, hope that the Barbados Authorities, as licensing agents, have carefully reviewed REDJETS Business Plan.

A single major aircraft accident with loss of life would no doubt come back to haunt the licensing authority, The Barbados Government, in both reputation and financial repercussions.

50 thoughts on “Questions Asked Of AIRONE's REDjet

    • @Hants

      Good point and the passenger will probably have to pay relevant taxes which should move the price quite a bit.

      Here is a link to Ryanair which is one of the most successful low budget airlines around.

  1. It’s called an Airline Price War

    (i.e. running at a a loss to drive competitors out of business, then jacking up prices when there aren’t competitors).

  2. I take it that they are using sub-standard aircrafts, the price will start at $9.95 but I believe the passenger will have to pay extra for maybe luggage, food etc, this might just be for one way, the flight home would cost the regular fare, whatever it is, it is a sub-standard airline

  3. We are becoming like the politicians. It is US$9.99, and the equivalent in $BDS.

    It might be my bad, because you’ll might be politicians.LOL

  4. @PBE: “I take it that they are using sub-standard aircrafts

    Ah, the classic “fear, uncertainty and doubt” (FUD) technique…

    For the record, MD stands for McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997.

    The MD-80 series have had fewer incidences than the Boeing 737 series, and have been used by several respected airlines including American, Delta and Swissair.

  5. 1 md83 have been around for a long time and where you by bwia for interregional travel before so I guess it practical to operate as such. Now is this an optimal solution. I don’t think so. A newer aircraft would be alot more fuel efficient but also carry a much higher lease. as such they have business model which shows that it doable one they have a high turnover of seats.

    2 ok people. it wasn’t never 9.95 it was always fares starting @ 9.95US + taxes. Is it doable. could be but i doubt all the fares will be that low. same selling point any other airline does show you the lowest fare for route but normally when you want to go is more expensive.

    3 With high enough loads yes.

    4 It kinda counter productive if you wish to let an airline start up in a country which already has a government run subsidize airline. Free trade say it should matter but we all know how that goes. the just protected their interest.

    5 you guess as good as mine

    6 Once the planes are above the light category the regulation for them should be the same. They must have well working order with schedules maintenance. must submit to airworthiness certification. They done it before they can do it again. It not a question if they can do it but when will they be finished.

    7 technically you only need one plane to start an airline. Can they operate it yes. it is optimal solution? no.

    8 I think the insurance demand would be directed by the lease company since the airplane on leases normally they requrie FAA min for the class and model.. If bought then FAA standard would be sufficient for Barbados

  6. To follow up on Christopher comment

    sub standard aircraft are grounded and scrapped for spare part or metal. the faa grounds all aircraft model they think they have a problem with ( not always as fast as they should but they do get it done). If they where substandard they would have never been let into to the air to land here in the first place.

  7. Wuh loss muh bags pack and wunna mekking muh frighten. I tink ah gine wait and see how de first few flights go before ah get pun dem planes. I uses tah go to Martinique on a DC8 in de days of Tropic Air and nutting dint happen den. Capt Mayo uses to be the pilot. And a good one too!

  8. @BU.David: “Why would a few sane business men launch an airline which , if we listen to some, is doomed to fail?

    There is a very old joke among economists:

    One economist says to the other: “Is that a $1oo dollar bill laying there in the street?”

    “Of coarse not,” says the other economist “or else someone else would have already picked it up”.

    Here in the Caribbean it goes a little differently…

    “Is that a $1oo dollar bill laying there in the street?” says the first economist.

    “Don’t touch that!!!” says the other economist. “You don’t want to pay a 200% tax on that $100. Do you?”

  9. @islandgal246: “I uses tah go to Martinique on a DC8 in de days of Tropic Air and nutting dint happen den.

    As I assume you, but not all, know…

    Douglas Aircraft Company (DC) merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1969 to form the McDonnell Douglas (MD) company which subsequently merged with Boeing.

    It continues to amaze me whenever I travel in air-planes just how very well they are built, maintained and managed….

  10. Some excellent questions raised but if all the operational conditions and safety aspects can be met then and the taxpayer is not subsidising the airline, don’t they deserve a chance?
    Personally, I think they are more likely to be competition for Caribbean Airlines and there best bet is to stick with middle distance routes like BGI-St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Kingston (or maybe better Montego Bay) Georgetown
    and help open new markets like Panama and Costa Rica where there are multiple opportunities like business and cruise ship traffic.
    Someone mentioned average fleet age and according to the average age of the LIAT Dash 8’s is 18.2 years.

  11. It’s a similar principle to staff traveling standby on empty seats or passengers traveling free on air miles accrued. Each passenger traveling on their airline is one less passenger traveling on other competitors.

    • It should be obvious to all the low fare which excludes taxes is an introductory offer.

      Does anyone know if this airline or the principals behind it have operated an airline elsewhere?

  12. The problem with Bajans and a few others is that we have grown accustomed to being rip off at every turn.
    So anything that is reasonable in price something has to be wrong with it we foolishly tell our selves.
    We are a people who love to be rip off. If Redjet start charging $1000.00 for a fare that they can charge $100.00 for then we would be happy to pay it. Redjet would fly full loads.
    I remember years ago at the old Hilton Hotel they were charging $5.00 for a glass of Mauby. The reason, they were first offering it at $1.00 per glass and they could not get a glassful sold. They raised the price to $5.00 per glass and they did not have enough to sell. Bajans and other lap it up.
    I think what Redjet needs to do is to raise their prices to a ridiculous level and all the criticism will disappear.

    • @what will they think of next

      What you wrote may have a ring of truth to it but the fickleness of startup airlines in the Caribbean and the world for that matter merits caution. Nothing wrong with asking questions. Let us be cautiously optimistic this venture will be a success.

  13. I would almost bet that these questions and aim to create dis-information has its rootings somewhere in the “Caribbean Airlines” family who, no doubt would be threatened with the entry of such an airline ESPECIALLY given there heavy investment in ex-Air Jamaica and the purchase of new regional planes to “take over” Liat’s role. They certainly can’t afford Redjet becoming viable and threatening their biz plan. They already got vincy PM vex with their arrogance as if they are the best answer for “one Caribbean Airline”, and it is cheap to spread fear and launch a campaign via a blog

    Hmmm seems awfully obvious!

    Also, what “liability insurance” do we demand of the popular carrier AA flying bajans to many us destinations. You see it’s not only “ole ass”, old generation aircraft that kill people as the poster is trying to suggest, but . POOR PILOTS AND MECHANICS also kill people.

    Let’s review the FAA logs as it relates to AA. (Yet the poster has not asked any safetey related or liability insurance questions of this airline)

    May 25, 1979: American Airlines Flight 191, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, crashed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. During the takeoff roll, the left engine and pylon separated from the wing. The crew continued the takeoff, but wing damage due to the engine separation also damaged the aircraft hydraulic system and caused retraction of some flight control surfaces. The aircraft rolled and crashed shortly after takeoff. All 258 passengers and 13 crew were killed. Two people on the ground were also killed. This is the deadliest accident in the airline’s history and the deadliest on U.S. soil. Incorrect engine mounting procedures by maintenance staff caused pylon bolt to separate after thrust application during takeoff

    December 20, 1995: American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashed on approach to Calí, Colombia, due to pilot error. Of the 159 passengers and crew aboard, four passengers survived

    November 12, 2001: American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 crashed in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of New York City due to separation of the vertical stabilizer. All 260 persons aboard the jetliner and 5 persons on the ground were killed. Improper pilot use of aircraft rudder resulted in vertical stabilizer separation

    December 22, 2009: American Airlines Flight 331 overran the runway in heavy rain at Kingston, Jamaica during landing and came to rest on an access road just short of the Caribbean Sea, with its fuselage broken in three. More than 40 people were injured. Crew made approach in tailwind conditions outside of airline procedures

    You see poster, we can go on and on since AA has an entirely library of incidents and accidents to choose from caused by human errors and not “ole ass” planes as you seem to suggest are the only reason for crashes.

    Hope to see you soon next to me in a Red Jet Seat!

  14. Yes Red jet can competecwith the other airlines.
    1 competitive prices would force a balance in pricing which would benefit the consumer.The more compettion the better. Having said that Safety all wins out in the long ran. Red jet prices at some point and time would come close to other airlines. Don’t expect other airlines to give prices on the same level as redjet. Another problem which red jet would have is passenger volume which it might not be able to handle because of its low prices which again can be of benefit to competing carriers.

  15. Maybe Red Jet is able to offer these low fares as they would not have to pay any airport landing fees. Cheap parachutes are issued to passengers.

  16. I think some of the commenter s have missed the point about the type of aircraft being used, I suspect the writer was implying that old aircraft are not particularly efficient and are subject to significantly higher maintenance costs. Question, why did American Airlines see a need to mothball these aircraft , old, costly, not cost effective ?

    Several other individuals keep quoting the FAA, you have to remember in this case the licensing authority is Barbados and not the FAA, do you want to fly on an aircraft licensed by an authority that has such a creditable record as CLICO, Greenland landfill, Judicial appointments etc.

    Having flown on several low cost Caribbean airlines I’m continually amazed to see bald flat spotted tires, engine nacelles covered in leaking oil, non functioning seat belts etc. all which would ground an aircraft in FAA jurisdictions.

    Dash 8’s such as LIAT use are a much more forgiving medium speed light propeller aircraft vs an MD83 which is a highly sophisticated, high performance and high speed aircraft typically designed and used on medium haul routes. Redjet is proposing to use these aircraft on short haul (15 Minute routes) where they are anything but efficient.

  17. @ Adriain Loveridge and others of that ilk ] I will still say that Red Jet is using sub-standard aircrafts, eally how practical is it to fly someone from here to New York or any where in the Caribbean of $9.99, aren’t they paying landing cost, is the fuel free, who are paying the employees and what sort of training are they getting, please come with something more feasible, we are not as gullible as we might seem

  18. For the record the planes came the states. the FAA wouldn’t have let them overfly the states if they weren’t airworthy so they are not substandard.

    For the 9.99 issue it same at liat offering discounted fare at 50 dollar then tax hit. most of the time they are never that low and they don’t include the taxs in them. it a nonissue.

    yet didn’t bwia use the same md83 for inter island travel. Yes there more optimal solution but perhaps those wheren’t in stock at the airplane leasing companies ?

  19. so far the routes indicated are guyana , jamaica, trinidad and barbados. A flight to any of these location to another is 30 mins or more.

  20. the faa did ground all the md-80s aircraft a year or two ago for problems with the wiring. MD-80s are old aircraft that BWIA fly in the 1980s….long time ago. Red Jet using old aircraft. Why they could not get a Airbus or Boeing plane? I aint flying on no Red Jet. I dont care how cheap the fares are.

  21. bwia was still using ms83 close to 2000.

    taken from the model wiki page


    In July 2009, there were 886 MD-80 series aircraft in service,[20] and that number had dropped to 844 in July 2010. Commercial operators in July 2010 included American Airlines (282), Delta Air Lines (117), Allegiant Air (66), Alitalia (39), SAS (36), Austral Líneas Aéreas (23), Meridiana (17), Khors Air (14), 1Time Airline (12), Bulgarian Air Charter (12), Wings Air (11), and others with fewer aircraft.

    With some much still in service i think it still safe. There are dc-9 that are 40 to 50 years old that are still airworthy.

  22. The negative issue with old planes are these (from a maintenance standpoint):
    * older planes usually need more inspections of areas like wing box, wing internal structure, etc, which are expensive and time consuming.
    *older planes eventually reach a point where, for the avionics and flight instruments, it is difficult to find a straight replacement, and you start looking at replacing the entire front end with more modern equipment. RedJet may have got it right by getting their planes from AA, who would have tried to cover much of that updating before..
    * older planes are not as fuel efficient as newer planes
    *older planes MAY incur higher insurance (but it is more a function of where you operate, your previous experience as an operator, and your proposed facilities – a start up in war-torn Sudan by a 25 year old businessman in a remote airport would be more of a risk that a former BA executive out of Stansted)

    Having said all that, sometimes buying an older plane is initially cheaper (US$15M versus US$100M), giving you a number of good years before they need to be scrapped. And if you can secure good third-party contracts on the most costly part of the plane (engines), then youu pay a little more for the piece of mind that all will not go pear-shaped at the worst possible moment.

  23. Bahamasair still operates B737-200’s into Florida, with hush-kits to satisfy the FAA. The -200’s were out of production for decades.

    Remember also that just because its a new plane doesn’t mean its not dangerous, or can’t have an accident – just look at the Qantas A380 that had an engine self destruct out of Singapore last year with 400 people on board…

  24. @All… Short of time…

    I hate FUD.

    For those who would like to experience what it’s like in the airline manufacturers’ space WRT safety, the FAA, foreign carriers and public relations, I highly recommend Michael Crichton’s “Airframe“.

    A fictional sorry, but highly accurate in its industry background.

  25. REDjet will only have a couple of seats for $9.99 plus tax.The MD82’s are good aircrafts but not for what REDjet is doing.They should have gotton 737s.The airlines could not afford the 737s.Redjet will not last long, they have lost alot of pilots already because they would NOT PAY them on time and LOW WAGES. I would not put my family on Redjet.

  26. “..Redjet will not last long, they have lost alot of pilots already because they would NOT PAY them on time and LOW WAGES.”

    At the rate the local CAA is going your prediction is likely to come through. It must take a deep pocket to buy two planes, hire and train staff, retain them at a % of full salary then park the planes for three months!!! Can’t blame the pilots if they can get another job paying full salary rather than sit around at half pay waiting on a process which has no fixed timeline to end.

  27. I heard that REDjet might start proven runs the end of February.They are having problems geting into Jamaica.Redjet Airlines lease there plane engines from Allegient Airlines.Allegient has the most engine problems and his being looked in to by the FAA. So you can all have fun with REDjet.I will not be flying on them.They are going to have alot of engine problems.

  28. Our information is RedJET contiues to wait for the green light from government. Speculation is the government is trying to assess impacts on the LIAT operation of which it is a significant equity owner. We also understand 50 out of the 140+ seats will be sold for the cheap fare. Baggage payments will range form 10$-$60.00 per bag. Caribbean Airlines has been affected significantly on the T&T route because of the falloff in shopping because of of baggage cost, RedJET maybe trying to muscle in on this business.

    Again, why the delay to fly?
    Again why the delay to appoint a CJ?
    Again why the delay to rollout FOIA?
    Again why the delay to rollout Integrity Legislation?
    Wait, is there a trend here?

  29. Well for flying i will rule safty till the end feb after that it just another in the case of doing nothing to delaying everything

  30. Well REDjet started there proven runs February 28, It lasted for a couple of days before the BCAD cancel it.They were making alot of errows in the cabin. We will see when the BCAD will start again. Lets hope REDjet will get it’s act together.Most of their pilot will need recurrent training in a month or two, because they have not flown from they did there check rides.

  31. We hear Minister Sealy getting in on the act voicing his frustration at the long process to approve the Redjet application. One wonders if his office and the ministry of aviation should not have been cooperating on this offline a long time ago. It appears the application was submitted since May or was it August last year.

  32. Barbadians have to understand that they live on an island and that they have to make it easy to have as many airlines servicing the island, as safely as possible.
    I believe that there is a conspiracy to keep REDjet out of the air by delaying its approval. The main reason is LIAT and the vested interests Barbados has in that failed entity. Now LIAT wants another US$200M for new planes.

    Governments should NOT be in the airline business… period!
    LIAT is overstaffed, badly run and overloaded with idle Antiguans, who enjoy the perks of a free ride.
    Jamaica had to give away its Air Jamaica because Governments cannot ever run a business as a business. LIAT’s small planes and high fares will remain as long as the three governments (Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua), continue to support it financially… In the meantime tourism suffers – but politicians could not care less so long as they and their friends are in control.

    So poor REDjet, could die before it starts – just like the proposed Inter-island Ferry Service – , while the politicians talk about satisfying the airline certification requirements.. now it is almost a year since the application was made – REDjet still does not know which desk in this red-taped island it is on… while the Tourism Minister pretends that there is no conspiracy – I have lost all respect for that man, especially after he said that the Ferry Service was a “step backwards”. He obviously does not study high-speed ferry services that are in Europe and North America and Asia.

    Finally.. do not get sidetracked by the $9.99 fares… That was a gimmick to get your attention. Those fares would be attached to certain routes only and only after you satisfy the “competitions” they plan to run with a specific phone company whose colour is RED as well… Maybe LIME is souring this agreement with the certification of REDjet by using their local and regional political clout.

    Poor Barbados… still a colony!! A shame!!

  33. REDjet had an incident were the aircraft had a tail strike and damage under the belly of the aircraft.It was being flown by senior management pilots.The aircraft was sent in for repairs.

  34. That should not have happen with with DO and Chief Pilot opperating the aircraft. That does not speak well for the other pilots at REDjet, most are a good set of guys.

  35. Lets see what the BCAD says.Normaly this would singal a red flag.Since the pilots doing your proven runs are the most experenced and in this case it was their DO and Chief Pilot.

  36. One wonders. both planes are parked @ gaia up to yesterday. it couldn’t have been that extensive damage if it did take place. One has to wonder if it did take place at this point.

  37. It DID take place on March 15 or 16. The plane was sent to South America to be repaired.The plane is back now we all know.You can also find this information online.

  38. New setback for REDjet
    printshare1 comment Wed, March 16, 2011 – 4:50 PM
    The Caribbean’s newest airline, REDjet, which has branded itself as the region’s first low-cost carrier has suffered yet a another setback in its effort to commence operation after one of its planes was involved in a mishap.

    An informed source told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the MD82 aircraft was involved in a tail-strike incident during flights tests at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

    “During high-speed taxi maneuvers the aircraft sustained damage to its tail and under-section,” the source who spoke with CMC on condition of anonymity said.

    Senior management pilots were on-board the aircraft at the time of the incident.

    The damaged aircraft has been sent to Costa Rico for repairs and the matter remains under investigation.

    In February, REDjet told prospective customers it was ready to fly but pointed to the Barbados government for the delay in commencement of its operations.

    REDjet was founded in 2006 when chief executive officer Ian Burns, working in the region at the time, was amazed by the cost of flights within the region and on routes to the United States and Latin America.

    Working with his son Robbie, the father and son team built REDjet in conjunction with investors to develop the first Caribbean Low Fares Airline and bring the substantial economic and social benefits of low-cost travel.

    REDjet is a privately owned airline with a mixture of international and local backers who share a common vision of lower fares to make travel affordable in the Caribbean. (CMC)

  39. Humm maybe that why they been delayed till now?

    Dear REDjetter,

    The Management team and staff of REDjet are pleased to announce that as of Wednesday 13th April 2011 REDjet’s low fares finally go on sale! Our first flights will launch from the 8th May and will feature frequent trips to our first destinations, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad.

    We know that so many you have all been eagerly awaiting our launch and the feedback has been massive. We promised not to disappoint and not only are we launching with fares from US$9.99 one-way excluding Government Taxes and Charges, but we are also launching 250,000 seats for US$49.99 or under!

    This truly will be a REDvolution as we aim to lower fares even further and open more routes across the region. Join us on our mission to end high fares so that Everyone Can Fly!

    Get online on Wednesday and get your hands on the lowest fares ever seen in the Caribbean and let’s turn the Skies RED!

    We look forward to welcoming you onboard!

    Your’s Sincerely

    Ian Burns

  40. There’ll be plenty of people knocking RED jet for a while yet – especially in the Caribbean. These are the same people who have no vision and can’t come up with new ideas…. the ones who open up yet another clothing shop next to 15 other clothing shops, or yet another hairdressers, or another damn nail shop.

    You can not walk 5 steps anywhere in the Caribbean with out noting a total lack of initiative and new ideas. Restaurant after restaurant selling the same food….. shop and stall side by side selling the same damn thing!

    RED jet will have to do it hard for a while to overcome these narow-minded and ill-educated people, but when they do, I wonder how many other ‘low cost’ carriers will spring up.

    Your “I’ll never fly on RED jet” comments just reinforce your third world status, as you are the people that are preventing your own country from expanding and prospering.

    Low cost carriers still have to comply with all the same laws and approvals as other carriers. The MD 80 is old, but so are LIAT’s -8s, Do some research on the low cost business model, low cost does not mean unsafe. It works the world over, the only thing that will stop it working in the Caribbean is the ignorance of the masses.

  41. @John: “It works the world over, the only thing that will stop it working in the Caribbean is the ignorance of the masses.

    I respectfully disagree.

    What *might* stop it working is protectionism of the (inefficient) Government owned incumbents.

    And please be aware that there is some FUD going on here, trying to scare the consumers, conducted by Anonymous Cowards….

  42. @Christopher Halsall, I agree….. to a point. Antigua has proven to be a cash cow for any dishonest person with a desire to line his pockets. LIAT and ECCAA are prime examples. But there is a significant attitude adjustment that need to be made in the Caribbean. There are so many people who have a little money….. and feel the need to be seen spending it.

    I know of two supermarkets close to each other. Supermarket A, sells mostly the same stock as supermarket B, yet supermarket A sells it’s stock at twice, and in some cases 3 times the price of supermarket B……. yet people shop there. It seems to be a badge of pride, to carry supermarket A’s bags. (my mate’s Maid even takes his bags when she comes, as he picks up a few things there)

    It’s a difference is culture that I can’t understand. Paying too much is a good thing – even though you can get the EXACT same thing next door for less. These people will tell me all about how much they paid for something (loudly enough so that every one else can hear), but will never tell you if they got a bargain.

    I love telling them that I got the same thing for less, and that you’re a mug for paying so much.

    People will continue to fly with LIAT, because they can tell everyone that is cost $350 to get to where they’re going. They’ll never admit to paying $10.

    Perhaps it’s because of all the poverty and slums on these islands, and the island inhabitants feel the need to differentiate them selves from that.

    All I can say is that a fool and his money are easily parted. Go RED Jet!….. you’ve got me. And let’s hope that LIAT is allowed to die the natural death that we all know is coming.

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