Liat weighs in on potential new competitor

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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".