Caribbean carrier REDjet has grounded its fleet, blaming state-subsidised rivals for slashing prices to such a degree that it was unable to compete.

The Barbados-based airline suspended flight operations "until further notice" from 23.59 local on 16 March, it says in a statement posted on its website.

Although passenger numbers had been rising, it claims, and it was "willing and able" to continue its services, it adds that "we cannot".

"We have seen other carriers drastically cut their fares in an effort to shut down REDjet and return to high fares and business as usual with no regard to the negative impact on travellers.

"Unlike us, they do not have to be profitable to stay in business," the statement adds.

It says it still holds out hope of being granted some form of government assistance that would enable it to return its aircraft to service.

REDjet started operations in May 2011 flying between Barbados and Guyana. It later added a further five destinations across the region.

Its active fleet comprises two Boeing MD-80s, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database, with one additional MD-80 in storage.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news