Skerritt has therefore called on Caribbean governments to reach out to grounded low-cost airline REDjet to guarantee its return to the Caribbean skies soon.
He noted that REDjet’s recent suspension of its services, presents a valuable lesson to be learnt about the importance of affordable air transportation.
The CTO Chairman who is in Guyana for the 13th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, said that there is a stifled demand for air travel in the region, especially with the spiral cost for regional airlift.
“You speak to Barbados and Guyana ministers which I have had the privilege to do, just within the last week, and both of them will tell you that REDjet was a major asset to them, it also stimulated competition” Skerritt remarked, adding that “Caribbean governments need to sit down and discuss whether you are an equity investor or not.”
Skerritt also pleaded to regional governments to liaise with the grounded airline’s officials and offered up the CTO to facilitate such gathering.
“I hope that by the time we meet for the State of the Industry conference in October this year in St. Kitts there would have been a significant (development) in the region and come to grips with the problem because OECS (Organisation of Easter Caribbean States) ministers met recently and this was the theme.
Recently REDjet officials met with Guyana’s Ministers of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Works to seek the country’s financial assistance in getting the carrier back in the Caribbean skies, however no definite position has been met.
The airline is also seeking outside investors, including from Venezuela.
REDjet suspended its operations early last month due to financial troubles, after it complained that it could not compete with other airlines that are receiving government subsidy, including the state-owned Trinidad Carrier Caribbean Airlines, which is receiving hefty fuel subsidy from the T&T government.