BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 22, CMC – Tax payers are not in agreement with recent proposals for the Barbados government to inject funds into the cash-strapped REDjet airline, according to an opinion poll published here on Tuesday.
The NATION newspaper said that the poll, conducted by the Caribbean Development Research Services Inc (CADRES) last weekend, indicated that the majority of respondents were not opposed to having the grounded carrier back in the skies, but they believed it should not be at the expense of taxpayers.
Of the 1 080 people surveyed, 39.4 per cent said they thought that more could be done for REDjet, compared to 35.3 per cent who felt enough had been done already. The remaining 25.3 per cent were non-committal.
However, when asked if Government should provide financial assistance to REDjet, most, or 42.1 per cent, responded: “No”, the NATION reported.
Billed as a low-cost, no-frills carrier initially offering fares as low as US$9.99, the privately-owned airline was forced to cease operations in March, but suggested that it was expecting state assistance to continue operations and blamed “subsidised” competitors for its troubles.
“REDjet is hopeful that we will be given a small part of the state assistance others receive, as it will allow us to get our recently approved and exciting new routes established and profitable. Once this happens our shareholders and staff will do their utmost to see that there is no return to high fares and business as usual”, the company said in a statement then.
But last month, a director at the airline, Ralph “Bizzy” Williams said he was doubtful that the airline would return to the skies.
Trinidad and Tobago has already announced that it had revoked the licences granted to the carrier, following the lad of the Barbados government.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Richard Skerrit said last month that while he could not “speak to the issue of subsidies” and REDjet’s request to the Barbados government, “all I would say is that REDjet was a wakeup call for us in terms of what’s possible”.