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Trinidad revokes REDjet licences

Published:Saturday | March 31, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Trinidad and Tobago Friday announced that it had revoked the licences granted to the Barbados-based low cost carrier, REDjet that earlier this month suspended its services to various regional destinations.

In a brief statement, the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) said it had revoked the  licence of REDjet effective March 30.

It said that TTTCA director general Ramesh Lutchmedial had written to Ian Burns, chairman and chief executive officer of the airline informing him “that the authority was left with no option but to revoke the license, since the Barbados Civil Aviation Department (BCAD) by letter dated 20th March, 2012 had advised REDjet that they were suspending the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) issued to REDjet Ltd”.

“The suspension of REDJet’s AOC by the BCAD would therefore invalidate Section 6 (1) (a) of the TTCAA regulations, which states that as one of the conditions to grant a provisional license is that the carrier “…has a valid AOC issued by the foreign authority”.

The TTCAA said it had also written to REDJet on March 28 requesting the airline to respond within 14days as to “…why the provisional licenses issued to REDJet should not be revoked or cancelled”.  TTCAA also questioned whether REDJet had the capacity and ability to provide a continuous and reliable service, the TTCA said in its letter.

“However, subsequent to that letter and before REDJet’s deadline for response, the TTCAA received a copy of the letter dated March 20th, 2012 by the BCAD, and therefore had to revoke REDJet’s license with immediate effect.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) , and by extension the Ministry of Transport, very much regrets this course of action, but given the regulations, have no choice but to act in the best interest of not only the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago but our Caribbean counterparts,” the statement said.

On March 16, the Barbados-based airline said it was suspending all flights after 10 months in the air in a bid to “protect the long term interests of the business”.

The airline had promised that "all tickets for future travel will remain valid" and outlined a three-week process for travellers to get refunds and urged travellers to check the company website and call centre for updates.

Billed as a low-cost, no-frills carrier initially offering fares as low as 9.99 US dollars, the privately owned airline did not give specific reasons for the shutdown but suggested that it was expecting “state assistance” to continue operations and blamed "subsidised" competitors for its troubles.

 “REDjet is hopeful that we will be given a small part of the State assistance others receive, as it will allow us to get our recently approved and exciting new routes established and profitable. Once this happens, our shareholders and staff will do their utmost to see that there is no return to high fares and business as usual,” the company said.

Incorporated in Barbados, REDjet took to the air with a regularly scheduled service between Barbados and Guyana in May 2011.
Last month, the airline began operating a service to St Lucia. It also operated a service to Trinidad and Jamaica and had announced it was to begin flights to St Maarten in May.

CMC