Low cost carrier REDjet has so far not responded to statements made by Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner that he did not know where, when or how it obtained its approvals to operate in T&T, but the company yesterday said it has got its air operator certificate from the Barbados Civil Aviation Department.Even as the airline, through its local public relations company, Sandra Welch-Farrel and Company (SWF&CO) issued a statement about its Caribbean operations, it did not address the issue to operate in T&T.The statement said the airline's obtaining its air operator certificate last Friday was a "major milestone" for the new airline.However, REDjet did not respond to e-mailed questions from the T&T Guardian asking whether the airline applied to the Civil Aviation Authority of T&T (CATT) for permission to fly from Port-of-Spain.
The airline also did not address questions of the date of any application it has filed with the CATT, and on what grounds it had gone ahead with its media and marketing blitz while questions were being raised about the channels it went through to obtain permission to operate in T&T.Attempts made yesterday to speak to Ramesh Lutchmedial, director general of CATT, were unsuccessful. Each time the T&T Guardian called his office, his secretary said he was in a meeting.Following a ceremony at Forres Park recreation ground, Claxton Bay, last Thursday, Warner said: "I am curious to know (where the airline got permission). I will have to advise the Prime Minister. I can't advise her if I don't know." In its release, Kevin Dudley, REDjet's chief operations officer said:
"We would like to acknowledge the professionalism and hard work of the Barbados Civil Aviation Department and their colleagues from other civil aviation authorities in the region for their support in reaching this key milestone."The release stated that the air operator's certificate meant that the airline was well on track for its May 8 launch."REDjet has received the required regulatory approvals from the Air Transport Licensing Authority of Barbados under the air service agreements between Barbados and other states, including the air services agreement between the relevant countries, to commence current commercial activities.
REDjet has been advertising lower than average rates -TT$63 -to Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica.In fine print, though, its marketing states that those rates exclude Government and sales taxes and that base fares were subjected to daily bank rates of conversion.The airline said it would like to clarify that it had not applied to fly to any destination in the United States and currently had no plans to do so."Barbados, at present, does not have the category 1 status required to do so, however, this is a matter soley between the authorities of Barbados and the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States," it said.