Thursday, July 05, 2012

Chief Executive Officer hopeful of REDjet’s return

St. John”s Antigua- The Chief Executive Officer of low-cost carrier REDjet is optimistic that the airline will return to the skies. Speaking on OBSERVER Am yesterday Ian Burns said the vision to bring affordable air transportation to the region remains very alive. 

“The spirit behind REDjet was the people of the Caribbean and that’s what we were doing; bringing something they wanted. Over the next coming months, that spirit of want and need will develop stronger and when that position is right, then REDjet will come back into the skies, but it may well be in another part of the Caribbean,” Burns said.   He continued that passenger numbers on the airline’s routes out of Guyana had surged by 80 per cent, while the Trinidad to Barbados route grew by 53 per cent.

“Any international expert in low cost carrying development would say that we have done well in the amount of passengers and revenues we got, which can be attributed to the fact that we brought in brand new distribution methods and the ability for people to buy tickets. The problem we faced was that the Barbados government, which is an investor in the airline and also the regulator, used its position to strangle the business and that has been a major problem,” he said.    
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Volunteers help rebuild Yankee Air Museum

Rebuilding the Yankee Air Museum has been a labor of love for the members of the Yankee Air Force. With only four paid employees, including Executive Director Kevin Walsh, much of the work is done by the volunteers who painstakingly restore aircraft, create a resource library and organize fundraisers to benefit the museum.

Volunteers have been busy rebuilding the museum after its collection of artifacts, memorabilia and several planes were destroyed in a 2004 fire that leveled the hangar it had called home. The historic wooden building had been used by Henry Ford to build B-24s during World War II.

Luckily, the heart of the museum's collection — the B-17, C-47 and B-25 aircraft — were moved out of the building by volunteers before the fire reached them. Those three planes are the only flyable aircraft in the museum collection and are going somewhere every weekend. Museum volunteers serve as their flight crews.

“I don't get paid, but I get to fly, it's one of the perks,” said volunteer Bob Catalano, who serves as the assistant manager of collections.

The fire was a setback for the museum, which didn't re-open until October 2010. Volunteers have been steadily adding displays and restoring aircraft. Many of its planes are leased from the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. However, one industrious group of volunteers is building a French SPAD XII World War I fighter from scratch. The plane will look as it did as part of 103d Aero Squadron in 1918, complete with the recognizable Hat in the Ring emblem.