Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner said he plans to launch an investigation to find out who gave REDJet approval to operate in T&T. Warner said while he commended competition, he wanted to see due process followed. "It is true that I am not against competition, but I don't think that competition should be based on a degree of lawlessness," Warner said at the commencement of roadworks at Soledad Road, Claxton Bay, yesterday. He said the Civil Aviation Authority, Caribbean Airlines and the Airports Authority did not know who gave permission to the carrier to operate out of T&T.
The airline which was launched in T&T on Wednesday boasts of offering air fares at 60 per cent lower than any other airline. Flights are scheduled to begin on May 8 to Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. The company is based in Barbados. The airline will operate with two MD-82 aircraft. "To get in this country you have to get consent from Civil Aviation and they did not get it. As line Minister I do not know anything about it, the Prime Minister do not know anything about it," Warner said. In another interview at Hanuman Jayanti celebrations at the Charlieville Mandir yesterday, he said: "I do not want to insult the Prime Minister by asking her because I am sure she does not know." Warner said he was told that the 21-year-old aircraft was denied permission to operate out of the United States.
"If this is true I will investigate," he said. Warner said he was very concerned about the low rates charged by REDJet and that "something has to be wrong." He said he did not believe that the last government made any agreements with REDJet since there would have been records. He said if REDJet received all permission above board, it would be welcomed, since he believed that REDJet would pose no competition to Caribbean Airlines. He added that those who purchase tickets could be refunded. "REDJet is aware that they haven't got permission and I am saying to you when they apply properly and if they get permission we shall see," Warner added.
He noted that even if Government had an agreement with the Barbados Government, it did not automatically follow that REDjet could fly without getting the necessary consent. "Nothing is wrong with competition, but it must be competition based on respect for a country laws and regulations," he said.
-With reporting by Radhica Sookraj and Shastri Boodan