Remember REDjet?

You know the upstart Caribbean airline that aimed to launch last December?  Well they’ve now officially said their launch is a go for 8 May, and tickets go on sale 13 April.  Here’s an email sent out by CEO Ian Burns today.

The Management team and staff of REDjet are pleased to announce that as of Wednesday 13th April 2011 REDjet’s low fares finally go on sale! Our first flights will launch from the 8th May and will feature frequent trips to our first destinations, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad. We know that so many you have all been eagerly awaiting our launch and the feedback has been massive. We promised not to disappoint and not only are we launching with fares from US$9.99 one-way excluding Government Taxes and Charges, but we are also launching 250,000 seats for US$49.99 or under! This truly will be a REDvolution as we aim to lower fares even further and open more routes across the region. Join us on our mission to end high fares so that Everyone Can Fly!

Get online on Wednesday and get your hands on the lowest fares ever seen in the Caribbean and let’s turn the Skies RED!

Seems like the launch is somewhat closer to a go — despite some setbacks detailed in this Trinidad and Tobago Newsday article, including a recent tailstrike of one of its two MD-80s at the carrier’s Barbados base.

REDjet aims to model itself after Ryaniar, but Antiguan carrier Liat warns that replicating that model in the Caribbean might not be so easy. Here’s what Liat had to say shortly after REDjet declared a targeted December 2010 launch.

Liat weighs in on potential new competitor

(09Dec10, 13:36 GMT, 215 words)

Antiguan carrier Liat is questioning if the business model adopted by upstart REDjet is viable for the region.

Irish father-son team Ian and Robbie Burns have secured two Boeing MD-80s based in Barbados to support REDjet’s launch, and they plan to use the Ryanair low-fare and no-frills business model.

The startup is touting $9.99 fares and has created a website that states it is launching soon.

Liat director of schedules and special projects Lesroy Browne told ATI at the Network Latin America 2010 conference in San Jose, Costa Rica that while he does not want to sound critical, the difference in applying the Ryanair business model in Europe versus the Caribbean is Europe is a region where people can migrate from bus to train to air travel. That’s not the case in the Caribbean, he says. “The critical mass is not there in the region.”

REDjet’s low fares will likely stimulate the market a bit, says Browne, but “to what extent”, he asks.

Regardless, Browne believes that “they [REDjet] will certainly create some turmoil in the marketplace”.

Former Caribbean Airlines chief Ian Brunton, told ATI before he left the carrier late last month that while he wouldn’t comment specifically on REDjet’s plans, he believed REDjet “would not be a threat to us”.

So we’ll see how REDjet performs in the often unpredictable Caribbean environment as Caribbean Airlines moves forward with its merger of Air Jamaica and Liat hopes to strengthen its own ties to Caribbean.  The MD-80s are a particularly interesting aircraft at the moment, given WTI oil is trading at $110 per barrel.

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