We would love to join everybody in rooting for the underdog, for the dream of low costs fares and all the grand idealistic dreams that REDJet used to represent. However, it would be impossible for us to do that and remain genuine.
As we speak, REDjet continues to negotiate with relevant authorities to get itself a chunk of government subsidy. While we wish the company all the best, its action has crushed almost all the respect we had for it, for at least 5 reasons.
1. REDJet Has Failed To Deliver The Crux of What It Offered to The Caribbean.
REDJet offered the Caribbean a business model for sustainable low cost travel.
This is what Ian Burns, Chairman of REDJet Airlines said before the company’s launch:
“At the moment, there is no option in the Caribbean for the people to travel. Whether it is American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, or JetBlue, the prices are roughly the same; the products are roughly the same.”
Having seen the problem (which we agree is a major one), Burns responded. He said:
“We believe that the business model that we have is well suited for the Caribbean… People will always have questions and skepticism about new entrants in the market, but what we are seeking to introduce to the Caribbean has been proven throughout the world.”
An admission that REDJet cannot function as is, is a blatant admission that its business model is not now (and unless something has drastically changed, was never) sustainable. “We cannot provide low cost flights and make a profit.”
A clamor for government subsidies, instead of raising its fares (obviously), tightening its belt or reworking its plans is the airline saying “we have given up on creative efforts – lets suck the public dry like everyone else.”
2. REDJet Continually Whines Like a Sissy
In more formal terms, the company complains unrelentingly about things any rational business in its position should expect. Recently when it shutdown, the company whined:
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
So the other airlines cut their fares a bit – how unreasonable and unforeseeable a thing! No wonder you guys want subsidies – that is the kind of thoughtless meandering logic Caribbean nationals have come to expect from public sector organizations anyway.
3. REDJet’s Messages Have Been Incredibly Incoherent
Immediately after complaining about how the other evil airlines have cut their fares (to the benefit of the consumer), REDjet completely negated their complaint by adding:
In spite of their subsidised efforts, our passenger numbers have continued to rise.
As incoherent as this statement is – I’m glad they mentioned it. As a matter of fact, I have been trying to book a flight to Trinidad on REDjet for some time now and have been finding it as rough as a heavyweight fight to get a ticket for the dates I want. The airline, by all accounts is “doing well” at filling it seats.
Hmmm – well, if your numbers continue to rise, and I cannot book a seat, why are you shutting down? See point 1.
4. REDJet’s Actions Have Been Even More Incoherent
Learn From Digicel
They may both have Irish owners but REDJet is no Digicel. The single greatest reason why REDjet sucks and sucks royally, is that it disregarded the consumer.
It was evident from as early as January that REDjet was stumbling. It could and should have foreseen that it would have to shut down and so should have done better at protecting the interests of its customers.
We know that business is business and at the end of the day, Digicel is just a business with a bottom line (as the Claro acquisition and mandatory network switch proved). Digicel is not anyone’s aunt or uncle or friend. Notwithstanding all that, when a Jamaican says “my Digicel matters to me” – it may seem strange, but many deeply mean it.
Why? Call a Digicel helpline, visit a store, write a sponsorship letter (with a decent project idea) – even with the lion’s share of the market Digicel pulls out all the stops and then some for its customers.
In a very short time Digicel has virtually become a national institution in Jamaica. I can tell you this – it did not come from playing the victim card, screwing the customer and leaving them broke and stranded in foreign countries.