International Transport Minister Breaks Silence On REDjet

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International Transport Minister, George Hutson

International Transport Minister, George Hutson, has reiterated his support for REDjet, the low-cost regional airline seeking to establish Barbados as its hub, while warning that there will be no "short cuts" in the airline’s regulatory process.

Speaking in the wake of growing public concerns over the inordinate length of the licensing process, Minister Hutson made it clear that strict procedures were in place which needed to be followed.

"There are certain segments of the society, many of whom should know better, who seem to be of the view that regulating and licensing an aircraft is as simple as regulating motor vehicle traffic.

There are regulatory procedures and checks which must be followed, some of which, I am advised, must be done in a particular sequence to conform to international best practice, as established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation," the Minister stated.

Mr. Hutson, whose comments came as he addressed the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc.’s (GAIA) Fifth Anniversary Awards Ceremony last Saturday, further noted that the procedures followed in this case, had the potential to affect an ongoing audit.

"Barbados is in the process of having our regulatory systems and procedures audited in an effort to achieve CAT # 1 rating for Barbados. How we go through the regulatory process towards the Air Operator Certification of REDjet will itself influence the results of this audit," he added.

Deeming civil aviation as critical to Barbados’ development as well as to the development of the international business and tourism sectors, the international Transport head underlined: "We have to show confidence in the professionalism of our civil aviation personnel and to treat their professional judgement with the same measure of respect given to other professions on the island. As I understand it, the REDjet regulatory process is nearing an end, but I want to make it emphatically clear that there will be no shortcuts," he contended.

In addressing the unveiling of the new airline in October last year, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, said the choice of Barbados as a hub "represents a tremendous vote of confidence in the Barbadian economy and the buoyancy in the economy."

Pointing to a recent decline in intra-regional travel, Minister Sealy maintained that the arrival of a low-cost airline was opportune and likely to promote growth within the Caribbean market.??cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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