"THE Caribbean’s newest airline hit the ground for the first time on Thursday.
But it’s not up and running just yet.
REDjet, expected to bring low-fare seats to the rest of the Caribbean, touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport for the first time Thursday afternoon.
The airline will be operate out of Barbados.
A number of Barbadians were interviewed for jobs with the company earlier in September.
The first MD82 aircraft received a warm welcome as two tenders of the Barbados Fire Service’s Airport Division also came on the tarmac and gave it a showery blessing just after touchdown via a water-cannon salute, as is customary when airlines come to Barbados for the first time.
On arrival, the company’s two top executives, chief executive officer Ian Burns and his son Robbie, held a special function with photographers aboard the aircraft taking pictures of the maiden flight into Grantley Adams.
The two then posed in the cockpit with a Barbados flag to commemorate their first arrival.
No REDjet agents are in place at Grantley Adams just yet, but the airline is expected to start taking on passengers from as early as January next year.
REDjet was founded in 2006 when CEO Burns, working in the region at the time, was amazed by the cost of flights within the region and on routes to the United States and Latin America.
There was a huge disparity in the market, as Caribbean carriers were losing substantial sums year after year while the American carriers flying into the region were reporting the Caribbean to be their most profitable market.
Working with his son Robbie, who is the company’s business development manager, the father and son team built REDjet in conjunction with investors to develop the first Caribbean Low Fares Airline and bring the substantial economic and social benefits of low-cost travel.
REDjet is a privately owned airline with a mixture of international and local backers who share a common vision of lower fares to make travel affordable for everyone in the Caribbean.
Over the past two months, the 42 members of the all-Barbadian cabin crew have completed intense operational, medical emergency, ground school and aircraft safety training on the MD-82 aircraft, just like the one which arrived Thursday.
The preparations were conducted locally and at the world-renowned PanAm International Flight Academy in Florida, United States. The final phase of training will take place once the company’s first aircraft arrives in Barbados.
“We took a holistic approach to our MD-82 training and included a member of the Barbados Civil Aviation Department who trained alongside our crew, thus ensuring there was a local expert on the aircraft in Barbados,” Burns noted upon the plane’s arrival.
“To date we have invested over BDS$1 million in the flight training so our team will be ready to welcome passengers once we have received final permissions from the regulators to commence operations.”"