– call centre, selected Digicel stores, travel agents, internet being use to book tickets
“For REDjet, the idea of a Low Fares Airline to service the Caribbean region came out of a “long felt want” for more
affordable travel in this part of the world. To date, this region boasts of the highest fares of any other region in the world, said Ian Burns, Chief Executive Officer of RedJet.
“I am of the personal opinion, that Guyana has borne the heaviest burden, being the most southern destination and has been at the mercy of other regional carriers,” according to Ian Burns at a business luncheon, Wednesday, at the Pegasus Hotel.
He noted that RedJet is to also announce its new routes in the South American territories later this year.
Noting that Redjet is a consumer’s champion, Mr Burns said that the airline is a pioneer of low fares and will drive the cost to travel down throughout the region.
He said that the airline has a simplified business model which deals with one class of product. The plane has 149 seats although it was built to carry 179, all in the same class which is economy class. And the aircraft only flies “point to point” without any interval stops before reaching the destination.
He said that the airline came out of a long felt need by consumers for more affordable travel in this part of the region to fulfill the needs of Guyanese.
Noting that an open skies transport agreement is a bilateral and multinational agreement which sets liberal ground rules for international aviation and minimizes government intervention, the CEO said that the key provisions included in such an agreement are; the free market competition, no restrictions on international route rights, numbers of designated airlines, capacity frequencies and types of aircrafts.
He said that pricing is determined by market forces and fair and equal opportunities to compete and deliver chartered arrangements and above all safety.
Adding that the RedJet is an internet-based company; the CEO said there is also a call centre being used along with selected Digicel stores and certain travel agents to book a ticket, however, persons can’t pay online but the company gives 24 hours to pay the cash at Bill Direct.
Explaining the business model that RedJet uses, Mr Burns said the airline operates under the same civil aviation authorizations, however, the aircraft cost is $300M a year cheaper than a jet airline operating in the region, and this is passed onto the passengers.
He said that the World Bank report of 2006 on Aviation in the Region recognised that there was too much state ownership and intervention and that to develop regional transport, the countries did not have the capital or expertise and so development would need to be funded by private capital.
However, Burns added that consumers in the travel industry have been totally ignored, and only 10 per cent of persons in the region fly and that is because of the price of travel.
The RedJet CEO said that the aircraft does not fly outside a four-hour radius, and the aircraft was built to turn around more quickly. “Every one of our staff, cabin crew, pilots, engineers are all time restricted to the number of hours they can work a year.
“The maximum they can work a year is a 1000 hours on duty, so if we can save three man hours a day by turning our aircraft quickly the savings on labour cost alone is huge, and that does not put any safety or security measures at risk, it is just a question of being more productive in our turn times.”
In the job field where there are noted statistics, he said that for every “one million passengers there are 2000 jobs created, and every time numbers slip down people lose jobs.” (Rabindra Rooplall)
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