Saturday, November 12, 2011

Redjet says its after growth not rivalry

St. John’s Antigua- Does Liat see newcomer REDjet as competition? Officials of that company would probably answer a huge yes in private, even though they may not be inclined to wage a public verbal war on the matter.

When LIAT CEO Brian Challenger told The DAILY OBSERVER this week that his company was restructuring to become more competitive, REDjet must have been one of the competitors he had in mind.

Observers monitoring the airline industry will likely contend that it is inevitable that the two airlines will compete for air passengers in what is a limited regional market.

However, low budget REDjet has denied trying to encroach on Liat’s market space, and says it does not see the regional airline as a rival.

REDjet Director Robbie Burns says his company is interested in growth and introducing services that have not been there before, such as the new Guyana/Antigua flight due to be inaugurated on November 22.

“So you know we are a jet aircraft with 149 seats, the other carriers are operating smaller aircraft, they are operating very different route structures than we do,” Burns explained.

He added that while Liat was very important for the region “we offer a very different product.”

According to Burns, REDjet is keen on introducing jet services where such services are “demanded and required”.

He told the newspaper that there had been a loss of jet services in the region, with Antigua, for example, losing a non-stop jet service to Barbados.

He said his company is interested in picking up the slack in such cases, not in taking a bite out of Liat’s customer base.

Asked about concerns in the Liat camp about his cost-cutting operation, Burns dismissed this simply as nervousness on the part of established companies about a new player stepping into the airline industry.

REDjet says it is in discussion with the Barbados Government to address the delay in approval for new routes.

It’s chief executive officer while confirming this, has given assurances that the company “is not moving out” of Barbados over the dispute, according to the Nation Newspaper.

Burns says REDjet is awaiting permission from the government in Bridgetown to operate the St Maarten, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada and St Kitts routes, even though the carrier has already received licences from those governments.

Last month, the airline called on the authorities to deliver promised political support for its routes.

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