The REDjet Revolution

BU has been following the progress of new entrant REDjet to the regional air transport market with interest. Not since Carib Express have we seen a new airline generate so much debate. The airline was approved to fly by the Barbados government albeit after a mountain of bureaucratic hurdles had to be leaped. The airline had to confront a suspicious minister of transport in Jack Warner  in its quest to fly to Trinidad. A recent report suggests permission for REDjet to touchdown at Piarco International Airport should be known when the cabinet meets on Thursday.  It was left to the Guyana government to welcome the airline free of controversy.

If we are to judge by the comments emanating from REDjet management the response to the airline has been overwhelming. Why should this be a surprise to anyone when in recent months it has been cheaper often times to fly to Miami or New York than to Antigua or Jamaica.

It is ironic and exposes the hypocrisy in the region that external players are the ones to attempt to make regional travel affordable. We are not ignoring the contribution of local investor in the airline Bizzy Williams. For decades our political leaders and intellectuals, or should we say pseudo-intellectuals, have pontificated about the importance of freedom of movement to the success of the regional integration movement. However they have all failed to deliver a solution which would make regional travel affordable. Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua are the major shareholders in LIAT which currently has the monopoly on regional transport between the islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Whether because of mismanagement or a flawed business model LIAT has been a generator of debt for its shareholders and venerable Chairman Doctor Jean Holder through the years. The less written about Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica the better.

BU has held fast to the position that building the planks to facilitate a regional integration movement (Caricom) or a form of functional cooperation depend on a few key things. We must have affordable regional transportation,  freedom of skilled people to move and a financial framework to facilitate the settlement of financial transactions. It is disingenuous that we have had a few making noise about the immigration policy of Barbados but remain quiet on the issue of the lack of affordable regional air travel. Do you get the sense that Peter Wickham, Rickey Singh, Annalee Davis, George Braithwaite, Tennyson Joseph and others of that ilk have not been as concerned about the high cost of air fares in the region? The one-trick pony argument has been exposed by their passivity on affordable air travel in comparison to the issue of immigration.

A scan of the media in Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad in the last week shows that LIAT and Caribbean Airways have miraculously been able to slash airfares.  One wonders if LIAT has been piling up losses and Caribbean Airlines is the result of a restructure out of the BeWee experience how will the two airlines be able to sustain this level of pricing which is obviously a competitive reaction more so than a competitive repricing strategy.

Bear in mind that Barbados is the significant shareholder in LIAT and Trinidad is the only shareholder in Caribbean Airlines. The story behind the story here is that a price war will hit the taxpayers of both countries where it hurts most. BU disagrees with those government spokespersons who suggest that REDjet will complement existing regional air carriers as it serves the region. For REDjet to survive LIAT, Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines will have to pay a heavy price.

The next three months or so will be some of the most interesting times for air travel in the region. Sit back relax and enjoy the flight!

73 thoughts on “The REDjet Revolution

  1. interesting times indeed David. It now more feasible for people to vacation in caribbean than travel to states.Will people actually do that is another question entirely. time will tell how all will compete, survive or die.

  2. I would like to visit Dominica, Grenada, Antigua (again) Montserrat, St.Lucia on Red Jet. The 3 destinations now being served, I care little or nothing for. Guyana nah, Trinidad nahhhhh, Jamaica nah,nah, nahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
    Go n cum again Red Jet.
    How ’bout NY too?
    I wait wid bated breff.

  3. I wonder if Jack Warner asked for anything from REDjet after saying the could not fly into TnT. For a good insight into FIFA and the corruption read, FOUL, The secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals by Andrew Jennings.

    The Indepenent Newpaper 11th May, 2011.

    Four members of the international football governing body sought “bribes” in return for backing England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid, the former chairman of the Football Association claimed yesterday.
    Lord Triesman said representatives from Brazil, Paraguay, Trinidad and Thailand asked for favours in exchange for voting for England to get the football tournament – including one who wanted a knighthood.
    The latest developments mean eight Fifa executive committee members – one third of the total of 24 – have either been alleged to have been or already found guilty of impropriety in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
    Giving evidence for the first time on the allegations to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Lord Triesman alleged that:
    * The Fifa vice-president Jack Warner asked for around £2.5m to build an education centre in Trinidad, with the cash to be channelled through him.

  4. Bonny Peppa,
    Did you know that we just got RedJet on a fluke after the Jamaican Government refused Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport as RedJet’s main hub? That is Jamaica’s loss and our gain. I heard that Jamaica did it in order to keep friendly relations with Trickidad in the merger of Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica. Those are two shittty little airlines anyway, which I would not fly.

  5. Until Caricom governments get serious about regional air travel, ther will always be periods of cheap competitive pricing until one airline flops and prices skyrockets again. For LIAT to be viable ALL of the Caricom governments would have to chip in and assist in the supporting the airline. Thanks to Redjet for coming to the aid of regional traveller and even though I know the fares will rise, I still think they would be far less than either LIAT, Caribbean Airlines or even Air Jamaica. What I would like to see is permission granted for them to fly to USA, mainly Miami and N.Y.

  6. Rose Art – Lord Triesman said representatives from Brazil, Paraguay, Trinidad and Thailand asked for favours in exchange for voting for England to get the football tournament – including one who wanted a knighthood.

    We put people into these good, well earning positions, expect that they will dispense duties honourably, as would the truck driver or garbage man, yet we get scumbags who only look for themselves.

    Then we ask why our cricketers dont do well or say they only have money at hearts, when the administrators have not proven their worth.


  7. @ David

    It has nothing to do with Air Jamaica or Caribbean Airlines and you know it. It has to do with extraction.

  8. I would like to know who wanted a knighthood? I can guess, since the other two do not have the queen as their head of state I hereby knight thee Sir Jackass Warner.

    Hmmn Bonny, I would like to go to all de islands , visit some ole friends in Martinique and Guadeloupe, friends in Anguilla, fambily and friends in Grenada and Trinidad, ole friends in Guyana, hike in Dominca, tek on St. Lucia and cruise the Grenadines. I will tek anyting dat cud get muh anywhere fuh a good price!

  9. @Islandgal246

    According to the British “Lord” it was the Paraguayan rep who wanted a knighthood, not sure why since Paraguay is not part of the Commonwealth…. Probably wanted the title on his stationery instead of Caballero

    Again according to the British peer, Teflon Jack wanted the funds to build a school to cement his legacy after serving the interests of Caribbean football for so many years… but he wanted the money channeled through him.

    The Brits have the Olympics so 1 out of 2 ain’t bad, all these “games” whether IOC or FIFA are awarded through influence peddling but the Brits are not satisfied with crying in their own beer they want to piss in the pool by holding a public inquiry… like that will make FIFA change anything. I think that the Brits should focus on more important things e.g. where the Royal couple is honeymooning or when will Kate produce the next heir and spare.

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  12. @Sargeant…thank you for the clarification. So de Senor caballero from Paraguay wanted a title, it is obvious that he didn’t know it is easier to marry a Lady thank to go a begging.

    Jackass Warner is something else, but to tell the truth he is no different from all the other politicians around the Caribbean and that includes Barbados. It is amazing how many of these politicos have a dream of getting rich as fast as they can at other peoples expense.

  13. Warner also allegedly asked for 1/2 million pounds to secure TV rights for Haiti………to be channelled through him, of course.

  14. Again we see a full page ad in the Nation newspaper by Caribbean Airways. A full colour add we are told goes for 5/6 thousand dollars a pop. What a waste!

  15. Redjet won’t be able to fly to the USA until Barbados civil aviation adminstration demonstrates it can meet the ICAO minimum commerical avaition standard which also have to be inline with same standard regarding FAA CAT1 rating. Also, last year the FAA for the first time have come up with a proposal to set retirement age for passenger jets based on total flight or flight hours. This was in the making for awhile now as it relates to the issue of metal fatigue in older planes. The MD-80 series were one of the models they are looking to phase out of commercial operation going forward.

    I still cannot figure out why redjet opted for these jets where the use of two regional jets or a few Q400 turbo props would have made more sense. My only guess is that Redjet probably bought those two planes on the very cheap. That is ,they probably bought the airframes ( without the propulsion system) and then lease the engines.

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  17. All uh wunna should know better dan tuh spout dis kina nonsense…

    Barring these airlines’ service to the population, ALL companies are in business to make money, and CAL and LIAT are no different, just the ownerships are national rather than individual.

    That means management must charge “whatever the market will bear”… a balance, in other words – not so low they lose money… yet not so high that too few people travel.

    IMHO we have two problems in the CAL and LIAT management, and they share at least one aspect, that of sheer incompetence in the Chairman, Board and upper management. Yes, LIAT is full of politically-appointed yard fowls who think running an airlo9ine is the same as running a hardware store, a restaurant or bookshop. Not so.

    Other than that, CAL is still clearly on a shark-like expansionist theme – initiated by Patrick Manning – and, according to information publicly available (published newspaper articles) CAL (and therefore T&T taxpayers) have a State-approved shopping list of no less than US$3 Billion (that’s Billion, not million, and US$, not TT$) over the next 3 years – and that’s only if the price of oil does not rise.

    So what’s the problem? Start with the shared problem above. Between the braying Jackass Line Minister, the new arrogant entitled boy-man MBA Chairman, irrelevant Board members and poor besieged Acting CEO they have managed to screw up just about every golden opportunity presented to them on platters, and all squabbled over in the public eye.

    Tony Deyal now calls then Chaos Airlines – I call them Carnival Airlines – and that describes their state of business. I seriously feel for the employees.

    despite advances, LIAT is still in the Dark Ages, and they still have that “Kremlin” mentality. In the last year or two they managed to get a decent web site, but management still treats the staff like unnecessary garbage- and still expects them to perform like thoroughbreds.

    With an aging fleet – by some miracle maintained to very high standards by LIAT’s long-suffering engineers and mechanics – they continue to hammer their way through the islands – at least one of which is very abusive, politically, and (except for the shareholders) none of which feel obliged to support the only genuine regional carrier which has ensured their wealth over the decades.

    LIAT’s problem is efficiency – in management, in processes, and in schedules. Costs are rising dramatically, yet LIAT continues to pander to it’s non-shareholders and behaving as if they were all paying their way. LIAT still has hugely inefficient “milk runs” up and don the islands which facilitate islanders to hop from one island to the next in non-stop journeys – no hub-and-spoke there..

    The sand in the LIAT’s Vaseline – St. Lucia – not only continues to pay extra-regional carriers for service and refuses to do the same for LIAT, but has yet another braying political jackass installed in government (who is unelected!!) intent on abusing LIAT every second of every day and favouring his own upstart “airline” in the process. Should LIAT stop serving St. Lucia altogether, there would undoubtedly be an enormous hue and cry (and possibly trigger a General Election). Yet the jackass is allowed to continue his abuse unabated and unrebuked. Unquestionably the spoiled-child syndrome.

    Now LIAT is looking at jets – a long time coming, if you ask me – and I fervently hope that current management do not screw up this opportunity like they did virtually all opportunities presented to the airline over the last 40 years.

    I don’t see REDjet as a threat to LIAT, but complementing it. REDjet can’t compete on inter-island services, and LIAT can easily feed their own medium-range flights (by adjusting arrival and departure times to work for themselves and not for REDjet).

    If management can just wrap their head around cooperation, LIAT can feed REDjet as well – according to numbers I saw recently, LIAT brought more passengers into Barbados last year than ANY other carrier. Surely (and I’ll call you Surely if I feel like it!!) there is enough passenger traffic to go around without behaving like monopolies?

    My position? Over literally decades LIAT has PROVEN themselves to be the one regional airline that has been there through every conceivable circumstance, political, meteorological and physical, and in my mind if the natural choice to be supported for that expansion Trinidad talks about for its own carrier.

    Plus, except for relatively brief periods LIAT has always been multi-national in ownership and as an employer, inclusive rather than exclusive (unlike another arrogant pretender to the description), and has been tolerant of the criticism abuse we have come to know is our way of loving our own.

    REDjet plans to have multiple bases in the Caribbean with multiple aircraft based at each. But their type of aircraft cannot land in many of LIAT’s stations, and they could never carry all of the loads.

    So REDjet, yes.

    And LIAT, yes.

    But Caribbean Airlines? That proud “National Airline Of Trinidad And Tobago” is on the edge of a self-induced precipice, and may yet topple headlong into it. As a regional carrier they have now lost all credibility, and I would never support any regional carrier which has but one owner – in this case an arrogant, avaricious, chaotic one which has only its own national interests at heart – first, last and always. That’s not a regional concept or behaviour, no matter what anyone else thinks.

  18. @ Anomynuss… Well said! I agree 100%…

    We should insist on the transfer of the LIAT base (head office) to Barbados or stop wasting our tax dollars supporting an over-paid and underworked management force in Antigua.

  19. @ Anomynuss | May 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM |

    That was an interesting analysis…. Thanks for sharing!

    And yes Tina Roach et al I read all of it and remembered what the first point was, lol

    LIAT have my respect for being around for so long.

    They even survived Concorde, lol

    But complacency in capitalism leave empty pockets and unhappy shareholders. Hmmm

    Anonymous I take accord with some of the key points you raised; staffing moral (yep, they are often overlooked aren’t they), Strategic and logical engine utilisation (should be seen as an economical and safety issue) and being a cooperative attitude instead of monopolization. This idea of cooperation is not new. I have travel on British airways carrier one way and then American airlines or Air Canada the other way -there was some obvious arrangement there to mutual benefit, so with the right meeting it could work.
    Like you’ve rightly cautioned anonymous, they maybe one joining Concorde. Yet what I often observe is that government subsidise national interest companies into a slow death. Because this financial backing is assured, there is a lack of innovation by management to critique longer term financial prudence of self sustainability. My point being, is often times there is a lot of wastage and yet poor reinvestment.

    But this REDjet (I like the name) may have a bigger skip in its step and may force the other Carriers to do what they should have done a long time ago (by the consensus of the complaints already mentioned) GET BETTER or die. If they do get better, it could be exciting times to come for Island travellers and that wouldn’t be a bad thing now would it?

    But the common denominator are the bums on seats. The question will always be -is there and will there be enough people travelling to support the need of these Carriers. only time will tell. If I am correct Anonymous you seem to suggest this was the case at lease for LIAT?

    Well long live LIAT

    Take care of yourselves and each other

    • The REDjet strategy of bums on seats appears to be using low prices to create a new market.

      If it works it maybe possible that the number of people travelling increase.

  20. What else can be said about Jackal Warner every country in FIFA has accused this nefarious character of theiving or corruption. The ATM woman Kamla got a local problem on her hands she cant blame this one on the rest of the Caribbean “begging” for Trinidadian hand outs. Over to you Kamla your boy Jackass Warner in yuh botsee.

  21. @anonymous

    Well presetned arguments. You have caused me to re-thinke my rationale for supporting BWIA(CAL) over the last 30 years. I still cant understand why it cannot have a direct flight from Barbados to New York, but then again does Trinidad case about Barbados or the Region?

    If some of the problems relate to processes, why cant those be ironed out first(LIAT)?

    Any new player in the airline industry must have a market introduction stragety to create its market share thus, it must appeal to new flyers and also attract flyers who would have been loyal to other airlines. It is for this reason that we are going to witness a price war. I saw ads from LIAT and CAL with lower fares than they normally charge, does it mean that CAl cant’t match the US$128.00 fare to Jamaica or is REDJET prepared forego making a profit initially to penetrate the market?.

    If this is the case how long can it sustain this strategy if the other carriers match its price strategy or even goes lowert to drive it out of the market. Does REDJET have enought fincancial resoures to withstand any stragey to drive it out of the marke and to respond acordingly? Or is REDJET charging the true price for its service which allows a reasonable return investment?

    Lower fares and sustained level of passenger travel will lead to lower revenue for carribean governments and I am wondering how will they react to this short fall, considereing that approximately 1/3 of the cost of airline travel is attributed to VAT, airline ravel tax, among other things.

    I will be travelling on REDJET and I hope that it is able to withstand the pressure that will be inflicted on it by LIAT and CAL, and if it manages to witsatnd the early onslaught, it does not change its strategy of lower fares,as this is what will give it its competitive advantage.

  22. Bizzy willian is one of the investor so i think they would have some fiances to back them for little while. Unlike the other nation carrier redjet will need to turn profit in the first or second year of operation at the very least. Liat is still unprofitable. Without the fuel hedge for cal they would be so also.

  23. i am saddened by the seemingly insular manner in which we converse in this medium,its natural anyways because when you read blogs in the uk its even worse ,most british people think they are god’s gift to europe until the reality of the reccession hit home last year..
    airline travel is costly in the caribbean and not only expensive but the hassle at the ports are a turnoff..redjet model will work if the planes used are newer ,but leasing or buying a newplane will mean higher fares ,so thats where the cookie crumbles …we can all sit here and write bad things about CAL and air Jamaica ,but the truth is,there standards are very high and thats why the two countries have CAT1 status…with the FAA and ICAO….
    my take on the matter is,if the planes are substandard i dont care how how low the fares are…you are taking a risk that avoidable,,,

  24. Bizzy Williams is one of the investors, the Bizzy who cuss Bajans saying dont blame the Trinis for high price of land.

    He could’nt mean poor blacks he had to be talking to whites like himself who speculate and make millions on land deals.
    Curse the Trinis now greedy hyprocrite Bizzy they killing your Redjet investment, cat or Jack got your tongue.

  25. Maansseh
    Just gimme a holla when you ‘leavin on a jet plane’. I gine wid u.
    A honey-moon in Dominica doan soun bad a’tall. Jus gotta get ma divorce from Negroman furst.

    Life is a gamble and it would be so dull n monotonous if we doan tek risks n chances. AA, Condor,BWIA, Pan-Am,BOAC, Jetblue etc whose standards meet expectation, could suffer de same demise as RedJet. Agreed? Well , get packing.
    I believe in fate n destiny. Again, get packing.
    See ya at RedJet counta. (wink,wink)

  26. It would be nice if REDJET could be persuaded to start at least a once weekly flight to Ghana or some part of Africa.

    We desperately need a direct link to Africa.

    It is about time.

  27. Carson C
    How de famblee? De dawta dat graduait still wurkin? dat is nice.

    I in fussy bout gine ta Africa doe. At leas not de Africa dat I does see pun my TB wid dem women walkin bout wid two long stockins drop down in front dem. But i hare dat de African men does be doubly-blessed, so on secon tawts, I might like Africa afta-rall.
    Have a blessed nite Carson C.

  28. CCC

    unfortunately they would need a a330/a340/767 er/777/747/md11 to operate that route. don’t think any of those are in redjet budget currently.

  29. anthony

    I was just told that by KAMMIE HOLDER.

    A pity really. We have a direct flight to BRAZIL but not to AFRICA.

    With a new party in office another attempt should be made to establish an air link with AFRICA.

  30. Always nice hearing from you Bonnie. The family is ok.
    The daughter is working on and on, but that is life. She is trying to get to Japan on the J.E.T. program.

  31. BONNY

    I don’t mind what I see on TV about Africa.

    My great, great, great, great, great grand parents came from Africa.

    I would like to set foot on African soil before I die.

    I owe it to them

  32. Carson C
    you grandparents did dat great fa tru? ya deserve ta see dem fa tru den.
    Bless up.

    Tell Kammie Holder ‘hi’ fa me. He tu cuteeeeee.

  33. First, asking LIAT to move the Head Office or base to Barbados is impractical at best. Here are a few reasons I would be against it…

    The most important consideration is people: you would be asking thousands of staff to uproot homes and careers. How would you feel being asked to move – think about more than just yourself, too- the kids in school, the spouse working at their own job, relatives, friends, schooling, the teenagers’ friends and ‘copains’, perhaps… do you really want to do that to a thousand people, just to say “we want it here where we can see it”?

    On a secondary note, over the decades LIAT has made enormous investment in infrastructure in Antigua… another secondary consideration is that Antigua is central to the current route network.

    Further, if the LIAT ownership – with or without jets – starts expanding the route networks in both directions, Antigua remains central – Barbados remains an anchor of the southern tier.

    And on a matter of space and expense, you are asking Adams Airport to find another perhaps hundred thousand square feet of space for hangars and associated offices – with access to the ramp or taxiway – to service LIAT’s many aircraft (over 30) on a 24-hour basis.

    Plus, Antigua (OECS ECCAA) is category 1, Barbados is Category 2, and being based in Barbados may start causing problems for the airline’s operations into the US Territories (not to mention new services to the USA and Canada).

    Now add in the politics, and you really start losing me. Don’t tell me about tax holidays and tax exemptions… all that is subject to King Who’s-it and The Royal Yard Fowls of the moment, on and off as they please, unreliable at best. If we still had politicians we looked up to as statesmen in the Caribbean you might stand a chance, but this last decade’s crop of opportunists and outright liars don’t deserve the chance. I always smile when I see that there is a meeting of the HoGs coming up… and it does not conjure up a picture of respectable Prime Ministers in suits!!

    So those are a few of the reasons… to me, moving LIAT’s Operations to Barbados is a non-starter. A non-thoughter, even.

    And right now LIAT could use some help. I know these regional Kings and Queens talk to each other at the highest levels, so there should be some kind of conversation which basically says the three owners of LIAT will continue the status quo if LIAT gets the same average financial support that each non-owner gives to their non-CARICOM airlines.

    Perhaps they could say that if no formal agreement is reached within a year, the fares to and from each non-cooperating island would go up to to compensate, or LIAT stops providing them with service – their choice.

    I would also strongly suggest that the LIAT-owner Prime Ministers start pressuring their counterparts to deal in a swift and forthright manner with their home-bred braying jackasses – like Chastenet in St. Lucia, who as a spoiled rich man-child seems to have free run of the jackass farm with no regard for the peace of the neighbours.

    On Chastanet, I would also like to see an open written public statement of his involvement in CARICOM Airlines, which is apparently a St. Lucian carrier registered in Surinam which seems to have Chastanet’s special over-protection. As a government Minister (not elected, I might add), does he or does he not have whole or part ownership in that airline?

    My friends, I’d like you to educate yourselves on REDjet’s pricing strategy. Yes, there are seats at US$9.99 – plus the ridiculously high gubmint taxes. But there only a few seats on the aircraft at that fare, and once the airline starts operating you will ONLY be able to to get that fare of you book way in advance – in other words, if you are the first people booking that particular flight. After those cheap seats are sold, the fares get progressively higher, probably to just under what the other airlines are charging.

    DO NOT expect to roll up to a REDjet counter just before a flight and pay US$9.99… it ain’t gonna happen.

    Other than that, expect to see fare pricing variations along the same lines as normal airlines – higher fares on weekends and holidays, lower fares when they want help to fill out a slow travel day.

    REDjet will survive… have no fear of that. And the other islands will have to fall in line eventually – or face their airlines being blocked from certain regional access – and in the case of CAL, loss of that precious “national carrier” status.

    I believe there is a real possibility that there will be a taxpayer revolution in Trinidad and Caribbean Airlines may be folded. Not a probability, but a possibility – because over the years, Trinidadians have shown they will pay through the nose for national pride, and arrogance does come at a price.

    Speaking of arrogance, I personally believe that King Patrick (Manning) closed BWIA and gave the new entity the name “Caribbean Airlines” because a regional take-over or buy-out of regional airlines by Trinidad was his master plan from the start. I believe he became impatient with waiting for the other Kings and Queens to seriously discuss a regional airline and decided he would just pre-empt the entire question and make it Trinidadian.

    Which is all fine and good, but who wants to bow and scrape to Trinidad, first to get service, and then to get reasonable fares? LIAT is serving us all – yes, at a price, but it is a service we have come to take for granted because it is always there. If CAL takes over LIAT’s services, expect to pay that price yourself at the counter, not share that load with the rest of your fellow-citizens. Trinidad will have its pound of flesh one way or another.

    My biggest concern with CAL being the regional carrier is their lack of concern at service. CAL is slipping back into the shell of BWIA, and that airline had a reputation of terminating service with NO notice – ask St. Lucian passengers who had turned up at the airport to find a locked BWIA counter and enquiries discovering that the flight was not stopping – not then, and probably not for a long time.

    And I remember BWIA REPEATEDLY filling up at Trinidad-Barbados-Antigua-New York flight in Trinidad and flying direct to New York – over the heads of scores of passengers of both classes who had full-fare confirmed seats on the flight.

    Don’t tell me that can’t happen again – Queen Kamla can’t even keep her dress on straight nowadays, and the Chairman and Board of CAL remind me of freshly decapitated chickens.

    Here’s the biggie, though… should CAL replace LIAT and there be a taxpayers revolution in Trinidad (due to the US$3 Billion shopping list) which results in either withdrawal to CAL’s current core services or (GASP!) closure of CAL, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE REGIONAL TRAVEL NOW SUPPLIED BY LIAT? Can you even begin to imagine what it would cost the regional governments to replace the LIAT infrastructure – and that would come out of YOUR pockets! Inter-island travel MUST be a reality – if a CAL disintegration takes that away, it MUST be replaced!

    CAL has that US$3 Billion (plus) shopping list, which is bad enough, but if you read the Trinidad news you will see that there are certain other events in train there which are bleeding huge amounts from the Treasury as well. Yes, Trinidad has oil, gas and minerals, but in the richest countries there is only so much in the purse… there comes a time when decisions must be made to impose controls and restrictions – and cuts.

    As for the Africa-seekers, I have seen that dream come up before… and most of the ones who decided the pull of the mother-land was so strong it could not be denied and pulled up stakes to “go back home” were back in their real home not that much long after. They had not counted on loss of friends, family, dignity, standard of living, communications, TV, radio, etc., etc., etc. that they had become so comfortably accustomed to in their own “backwards” islands.

    By all means, save your money, do your research, pick a spot – but PLEASE, please, please… for your own sake and the sake of your family pay your selected spot a long (temporary) visit and seriously evaluate your prospects and environment before you sell everything and drag your entire caboose along for the ride. Losing everything you hold dear on a hunch or a feeling ain’t easy.

    On travelling to Africa, REDjet is not going to do it with their present equipment. First, the aircraft’s range barely makes it between the closest points between the Caribbean and Africa. Second, it is all over water – expect no search and Rescue if something happens, even if you survive the splash-down. Third, there is currently no established commercial market between the Caribbean and Africa. Sure, some people come and go (via London or Paris), but there has to be enough to make it worthwhile for the carrier, and for them to charge reasonable fares.

  34. Was it not the Dipper who spoke to his friend Mr Trudeau in Canada,thus allowing BeeWee to operate in that country,after facing many previous rejects? How quickly we Caribbean people forget.

  35. Let’s see how well the airline fares on its first three routes before we look at establishing flights elsewhere. With relation to flights to Africa, have any of the regional long haul airlines (i.e. Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines) conducted any surveys to determine the number of Caribbean people willing to travel to Africa? Probably not, because they have been spending most of their time trying to stay afloat financially and otherwise.

  36. REDjet says CAL protection blocking Jamaica flights

    “I can confirm that CAL has objected to REDjet flying to Trinidad and Jamaica as they are claiming that as a designated airline of Barbados that Barbados cannot designate another airline. This was confirmed by a senior member of the Trinidad negotiating team. I cannot confirm that CAL has placed the condition on REDjet not being allowed to fly into Jamaica as a requirement to complete the Air Jamaica acquisition. However we have it from a Ministry official in Jamaica and would trust its credibility,” he said.

    “REDjet has been told that despite our application to fly to Jamaica from the 11th of May, the Air Transport Licensing Authority have made it clear that it will now not make a decision on REDjet until the 26th of May. It is fair to say to say that what CAL is looking to do is take over not Air Jamaica but rather exclusive access and control of Jamaican skies and air services. This means that CAL is effectively securing a monopoly to the detriment of the economy and consumer,” Burns added.

    And do you still think that T&T / CAL is anybody’s good neighbour? CAL is not even Air Jamaica – they just use that name under licence to keep the loads up among Jamaicans. Trinidad is running CAL into the ground and losing all their friends and neighbours through malicious politics and sheer bad management.

    I will advocate here again that there will be a day of reckoning when either the people – or the politicians under severe pressure – may well close off that feckless money hole in the ground (or is it in a money hole in the the air??) for good. Thank God they have not yet got their hands on LIAT, that’s all I can say.

  37. Caribbean are continuously ripped off left right and centre.

    CanadianBajans will remember a few years when we could fly Toronto to Barbados for $199 CAD.
    We did not ask how we could fly 5 1/2 hours each fuh dah little bit a money.
    We filled the planes and went back home for vacations.

    The point I want to make is that Governments in the Caribbean should allow Red Jet to operate as long as they follow the same safety regulations as all other carriers.

    Protectionism sucks.

  38. Where are the regionalists who like to shout bloody murder about freedom of movement. Isn’t this an issue which fits their ideal? Peter Wickham and Rickey Singh can’t hear you!

    Now Jamaica is sitting on REDjets’s approval. It is all a scam isn’t it?

  39. It’s not Jamaicva sitting on REDjet’s approval, it’s Trinidad, who had a year to make the final signature on the CAL-JM agreement (which is still secret, by the way) and asked for two weeks extension.

    This while Queen Kamla jetted down to Brazil with a trade delegation – causing yet another T&T scandal when she used a chartered CAL jet both ways – and Prince Nicholas III ignored Minister, Board and protocol by arranging the extension with Jamaica himself.

    Turns out the extension is the arm-twisting by Trinidad to pressure Jamaica in refusing REDjet licence to operate!!

    Personally, I wish the Jamaica government would tell T&T to please step off the island and go home, then bar CAL from all Jamaica airports. It’s time this arrogance comes to a stop, as well as the apparent neo-colonisation of the rest of the islands by Trinidad.

    If they have so much money, why don’t they invest it in T&T?? Or are the rest of the islands the source of cheap offshore labour they need to enrich themselves even more?

  40. Facebook Status & Re-Tweet: The Barbados Government needs to Block Caribbean Airlines from Barbados immediately, let them suffer the cancellations that REDjet has/have to endure at their hands. Time to play Hardball!

  41. The Barbados government needs to do all it takes to get our grade 1 status which would allow REDjet and other airlines operating out of GAIA to fly into US territories. The recent cancellation of American Eagle is a case in point.

    The other point is that governor’s policy needs to be consistent, we can’t be implementing cost saving measures in the healthcare system in Barbados with the kind of disruption it is causing but continue to ignore how St. Lucia and others are abusing the LIAT relationship. Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua needs to read the riot act to these people. It is taxpayers money we are talking about in hard economic times propping up LIAT.


    Thanks for the link, BU will ad it our sidebar to be used as a resource on airline and related matters.

  42. Jamaica is a sweet place
    Guyana a nice place with nice hospitable people
    Why would some one not want to visit these two places
    So many people visit Jamaica
    For a Caribbean person to diss Jamaica is sad
    Jamaica Nice !
    Is it small island mentality

  43. Jamaica may be nice, but the truth is that most of we ‘fraid go there.

    And with good reason – Dudus was not the first Jamaican “Big up” thug to be known for massive acts of violence and illegal drugs, the US, Canada and UK jail, execute and deport more Jamaicans for criminal behaviour than any other nation. Jamaicans are now claiming they are being turned back and should have free access to Barbados – but wait, did Barbados suddenly become a parish of Jamaica?

    Barbados, like Jamaica, is a sovereign country, no other citizen, not English, American, Canadian, Jamaican, Guyanese or any other can claim the right to free access to that country, and IMHO the Barbados government should not be bowing to external pressures to open the floodgates.

    Bajans already have life bard enough with out MORE foreigners (legal or illegal) coming in and taking their jobs away.

  44. [St. Lucia is not a shareholder in LIAT misreporter Bourne. St. Lucia and a minister Chastenet try their hardest to undermine LIAT. A stoppage of travel by LIAT to St.Lucia would quickly bring the ungrateful bunch to their senses]
    from bfp.
    Category 1 Airport status in corrupt Antigua; category 2 status in number one developing state Barbados .
    Anonymuss for christ sakes explain that for us.

  45. @CCC
    I would not advise you to wait for a direct link to Africa since it is highly unlikely to attract high enough demand to justify a schedule. A charter may make much sense and i would encourage you to discuss with friends and family via all media at your disposal ie email, phone etc. Put the thought and info around, probably assume $1,500 + roundtrip, your feedback should be instructive.

    I personally think that regular flights Bdos to Dakar/ Accra/ Lagos will lead to the equivalent of the Guyanese invasion X 10. Remember what happened when the Ghanians were here for how long????

  46. The airline business is certainly among the very toughest to run properly and profitably. Why? Costs that are ridiculously variable for financing, fuel, demanding unionS, unrealistic schedules,etc

    It is the last business arena that bureucrats, politicians and their appointees should be involved! It requires the most experienced, effective airline executives imaginable in order to stand a snowball’s chance. Keep LIAT in Antigua BUT hire the best people from Southwest / Westjet et al to run the show professionally. Please note that the great Warren Buffet lost $350 MN in US Air stock some years back and he conducted a study of the industry and concluded that in terms of PROFIT it would have been better to shoot the Wright Bros at KittyHawk. The industry collectively has LOST money over its history!

  47. @ Redbone
    Why are you so naive to believe that it is white people like Bizzy who make money on real estate deals, exclusively. Do you really think that rich, well educated darker peeps have not made serious blendser too? PLEASE! The politicians/ business big-ups etc in thick my bro with names like Ralph, Mia, Darcy et al hitting the score board with regularity AS THEY SHOULD, because as my good dark friend once said”the stock/RE market does not know or care that I am black”.

  48. “Category 1 Airport status in corrupt Antigua; category 2 status in number one developing state Barbados.”

    Simple… the OECS created the ECCAA, funded it properly, and gave it some teeth and experienced people. The DCA here Barbados is still merely a gubmint Department over seen by a Minister, while the ECCCAA is an agency – a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – which is to some measure independent and apart from politics, and collect their own revenues (as well as some government financing in many cases).

    Comment removed and posted HERE

  49. @money brain,Why are you so naive to believe that it is white people like Bizzy who make money on real estate deals, exclusively.
    In a word, COW!?!

  50. @Gone Fishing
    It is time you put in to port for a reality check my bro! Never underestimate Bajans of any colour when it comes to making $$$$$. While back on terra firma you should cut yourself a good deal on some bargain RE or shares cause you mussee missing out. I have dark friends who made a fortune in RE, not only in Bim but in many other locations. Capitalism is for everybody!

  51. @Moneybrain
    Here’s the thing I’m not one of your dark friends nor do I appreciate your racist condescending words the real deal is the buckra johnnies as in Cow he sibling Bizzy and most likely you, inside trade and conspire on everything from construction to baking pastries for Big B supermarket and cut out blacks, thats the gospel truth. Its a bigots inner circle which got a vice grip on Bim economy the bigots are not black, end of story.

  52. @ Gone Fishing
    Exactly where do you think I have been racist or condescending?
    Wher did I discuss bigots?

    The backra johnnies suggests that you are aware that the lighter peeps you are mentioning were NOT from the” born with a silver spoon set” which proves my point that people who maybe born at the lower end of the economic scale can reach the top.

    The facts are that many black people in Bim have done well financially speaking . The black people that have not done well or improved their financial starting point are primarily those that have a very bad attitude like you or are just not focused on their goals. I would certainly concede that whites do conduct business with each other BUT are you suggesting that blacks dont do the same thing?

    The bottom line is that there is opportunity for black people in Bim and if you seriously believe that is not so, then you should immigrate to seek your fortune. Many Bajans, including myself, have improved their finances thus.

    You should seriously consider using your aggressive streak in a meaningfully productive way because you dont scare me one lil bit and besides I want black Bajans to succeed because I am a true son of the soil.

  53. who has the grip on the whole of the caribbean? if guns, drugs and other vice can float and fly in unabeited for the black people down there (any island) crime, bribery and whitemail. You plsy ball at first – then they screw you.

  54. Thinking outside the box… for the poorer West Indian, perhaps REDjet could capitalise on Cuba’s very cheap all-inclusive vacations before that country opens diplomatic relations with the USA and everyone else is squeezed out by the usual flood of Americans.

    Canadians have been going there for years at incredibly cheap rates, maybe the average Caribbean person deserves a break before it gets overwhelmed!

    If one of the regional travel agencies could get in on the all-inclusive deals for locals in the islands then REDjet would be able to cash in for at least a little while before that big Merkan dam breaks just off the south-east coast of the USA and the “flood damage” starts.

  55. Can’t anyone see we are wasting our time with this Caricom thing? For most of these caribbean countries, Caricom is only viable when it benefits them. Look at T&T, they been fighting Barbados for many years with this “so-called” fishing agreement, which really is to control what Barbados can do even within their territorial bounderies, now this REDjet issue, yet with all this T&T is buying upthe whole of Barbados through this Caricom Agreement. Jamaica considers themselves out of the region but sticks around to get whatever benfits they can get, yet like T&T don’t want to be any part of the CCJ. Also like T&T, is willing to use Barbados was their little whipping boy and we must allow them to do as they please yet we (barbados) can’t get any benefits from them. It is time this Caricom Agreement is reversed and we return to our own ways of doing business, since the only ones getting burnt are Barbados and bajans. Clean up this influx of Caricom parasites in this country and whether we sink or swim, we do it on our own.

  56. Scout
    I am with you on this one but your man Owen is a true to the bone CSME man.
    He and Mia are still trying to put Barbados as the one to carry the burden of allowing all the Caribbean people to use our health care system free.

  57. Clone
    First, I thought this talk about my association with the BLP was put to rest, it seems I will constantly have to remind everyone, I’m a free Spirit, I can praise or criticise either of the parties in Barbados simply because I’m NOT a member of, or diehard supporter of either party. However, having made myself clear, both Owen and Mia would know why they support the ill-fated Caricom/CSME, as far as I’m concerned, the people of a country should have a say in the direction any leader wants to carry the country and I’m sure the majority of bajans would like to see a return to the Barbados we used to know, without these regionalists who are destined to pull down this society.

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