REDjet officials will be working on implementing a more effective communication system in an effort to deliver a better quality of service to its customers.
Chairman and CEO of the low cost airline, Ian Burns, made this announcement yesterday during a press briefing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri.
Burns was at the time addressing concerns raised after several of REDjet’s flights were cancelled during the period August 21 to September 2, affecting more than 900 of the airline’s passengers.
According to the official, the disruptions were due to problems with the hydraulic system on one of the two aircraft currently used by the airline.
He said, “REDjet faced disruptions in Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad, and being a consumer-focused airline, we thought it absolutely necessary to speak to the public and consumers in an attempt to set the record straight.”
During the disruption period, there were 11 cancellations and 15 delayed flights, and of the 953 passengers that were affected, the airline was able to grant refunds to 771 and re- book 183.
Burns noted that the airline staff did everything in their power to mitigate the effects of the delays, but were faced with several constraints.
“As we always said, we have five promises, and one is that we will always be honest and tell it like it is; this is one where we have not done things as we would have liked to, and we are putting up our hand and apologizing to people,” he offered.
He said that the hydraulic problem that one of the aircraft developed coincided with the scheduled maintenance of the other plane, and while the airline made preparations to have an auxiliary aircraft on ‘Wet Lease’, this was delayed.
REDjet’s CEO said, “We knew that in September each of our aircraft was due for checks; to try and cover, this we applied to the Barbados Civil Aviation Authority on August 9 for what is called a ‘Wet Lease’, to bring in auxiliary aircraft to bring in additional capacity to cover for the event that we had a maintenance issue; it took until August 30 to get approval.”
He acknowledged that this is the first commercial issue that the airline has been faced with since its launch in April, and emphasized that REDjet officials will do all that is necessary to ensure that there will be no recurrence in the future.
In the wake of the issues facing the airline, which affected customers in Barbados and Guyana, REDjet’s CEO expressed appreciation to the Government of Guyana and to Guyanese customers for their continued support.
“We cannot say enough to our passengers about how sorry we are, and we want to assure you that the management team and staff worked tirelessly to contact people affected,” he stated.
As to the delays in promptly communicating to customers the reasons for the disruptions, he pointed out that the airline faced “structural issues” with their communications system which was bombarded with additional traffic in addition to its daily load.
He gave his assurance that systems will be put in place to integrate and strengthen communication systems, in addition to strengthening passengers’ contact information for greater accessibility.
He said, “It is very important that we recognized this as an issue; we had a complex problem and the engineers genuinely thought they would get the issue fixed, and we thought we would leave it until the last moment; in future, we will need to be more decisive when we make these calls, so that passengers can get earlier notification.”
Burns revealed that there was a marginal reduction of 10 percent in bookings since the delays, and stressed that the financial viability of the airline has not been affected.
“We are addressing these issues and we will get better,” he said.
Meanwhile, REDjet’s Director of Maintenance and Chief Operations Officer, Kevin Dudley, affirmed that the airline never compromises on issues of safety.
“We take safety 100 percent seriously, and our engineers and pilots would never dream of taking an aircraft that was not 100 percent ready for our passengers and crew to fly safely; we always make that commitment to everybody, and we will never change that.”
He reiterated that the airline’s engineers worked around the clock, supported by the aircraft’s manufacturers, Boeing in Seattle, to have the hydraulic problem rectified as early as possible, but this proved more complex than anticipated.
As to the importance of the hydraulic system to the overall functioning of the aircraft, Dudley said, “The hydraulic system provides control of power for the flight control and the landing gear, wheels, brakes and steering; as you can imagine, it is a very integral and important part of the aircraft system… safety was one of the main reasons that we have not been flying, why the aircraft was grounded.”
He assured that the aircraft is now back in service, and fully operational.