My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: REDjet Coming in October - CAL's Nicholas III Hunt for Red October

Friday, July 22, 2011

REDjet Coming in October - CAL's Nicholas III Hunt for Red October

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the World, and all the wonder that would be.
Saw the Heavens fill with commerce, argosies of Magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down costly bales.

Tennyson, Locksley Hall

Looks like REDjet, the Digicel of Air Travel, is already ruffling some feathers folks!!

This as CAL (Caribbean Airlines) Chairman George Nicholas III aka King Nicholas has effectively placed his head in the sand at the impending damage that will be visited upon CAL come Christmas 2011AD as stated in the article “Nicholas Dismisses REDjet As Serious Rival”, published Friday July 22, 2011, by Steven Jackson, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

This as it is now officially that REDjet will not only be flying to Jamaica, after finally getting approval from the JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) but to Trinidad and Tobago by July 28th 2011AD as well as stated in the article “REDjet selling seats to Trinidad and Jamaica”, published Tuesday July 17 2011, RJR News.

REDjet’s Jamaica route to begin operating in October 2011AD as stated in the article “REDjet’s Jamaica route to start in October”, published Thursday, July 21, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

REDjet Chairman Ian Burns clarifies in a statement, quote: “Obviously REDjet is delighted to receive its permission from Jamaica. It’s always been fundamental part of our business plan to be [engaged] in the Northern Caribbean and Jamaica has always been a preferred a country to operate an aircraft in that region so it’s a big event for REDjet and we are very pleased about it. We have been given a license to operate under the proposed schedules that we have submitted, so it’s a question of choosing the right time to enter the market. Clearly we are coming towards the end of the summer season so we are not going to catch that season so we will be looking at the autumn season and while we haven’t firmed up on dates yet we will be doing so very shortly.”

To your corners Contender! Here begins the War of Words! Let’s get ready to rumble, Wray and Nephew Contender Style!! People, Play the Theme song for Top Gun (1986) Dangerzone:

In a bravado show of confidence in the face of certain annihilation, CAL Chairman George Nicholas III aka King Nicholas stated emphatically that they are not prepared to engage REDjet in a pricing war (sorry that's as far as the Digicel analogy extends!), quote: “Our fares are reduced and may reduce further. But if it becomes a game of how low can you go, we are prepared to wait a while”.

Granted, REDjet only has two (2) MD-82 jet aircraft as per the specs in my blog article entitled “REDjet vs Caribbean Airlines - Who is The Bigger, Better Airline of them All”. To that the only additional info that the article supplies is that the formerly belonged to American Airlines and have serial numbers 49471 and 49469 respectively (sorry can’t tell ‘em apart!!) and they have been in service since 1987AD.

So says Planespotters and Airfleets!

CAL is gearing up with an armada coming and plans to up the ante from four (4) to fourteen (14) aircraft, significantly increasing their capacity, with the original Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines branding logo maintained in the name of Jamaican pride!

But as efficiency and active routes that count and not numbers of passengers, as you can have more passengers and still not achieve economy-of-scale if you don’t control increasing wastage!! Properly maintained aircraft, like properly maintained cars, can outperform even the large jumbo jet liners, which due to their bigger size, will naturally consume more fuel.

As usual people, the specs for fourteen (14) aircraft to make up CAL:
  1. Nine (9) nine Boeing 737-800s
  2. Four (4) ATR turbo-props
  3. One (1) long haul aircraft, (do I hear Boeing 777?)
These aircraft are show in order below.

Good to note at this point that Air Jamaica, now part of CAL, is ranked 107th in the world, a ranking plunge precipitated by its decision to cut its routes from eleven (11) to five (5), a decrease of six (6) which had resulted in a 40% revenue tumble from US$257 million in 2009 to US$154 million (J$13.2 billion) in 2010, due to the reduced level of passengers.

A clue as to the Achilles Heel: inefficiency with low passenger levels!

Routes statistics role call! The six (6) routes that were cut were:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Baltimore, Maryland
  3. Havana Cuba,
  4. CuraƧao
  5. Chicago
  6. Grenada
The five (5) routes kept were:

  1. New York
  2. Philadelphia
  3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Nassau
  5. Toronto, Canada
Apparently, CAL is not only going for more aircraft to service these neglected routes, but also for more pilot as well to fly these additional aircraft!

Do I hear the bell chime of competition?

CAL is gearing up for competition in the skies. Not only that, the rhetoric is ratcheting up too for the Christmas 2011AD!

CAL’s overpriced Champaign flights and unnecessary in-flight food, most of which I doubt many eat and the expensive booking Services hosted in buildings will be avoided by REDjet. Rather, they are going the efficiency route, with the more efficient aircraft and sans the above to make REDjet’s crazy venture profitable in the long term.

In short, REDjet will do the following to keep costs down to crib from my blog article entitled “REDjet all-clear for Jamaica and Trinidad Routes – Bigger Better Top Gun and CARICOM’s Iron Eagle”, quote:

1.      No free food or business class service
2.      Fast turnarounds at airports to save on parking fees
3.      No overnighting by staff
4.      Internet reservations, thus eliminating booking offices.

Says CAL Chairman George Nicholas III aka King Nicholas of REDjet, quote: “You have planes that you lease. It's not an airline; we have to be serious about that. This is a father-and-son team that came from Europe and decided to set up. I do not consider them an airline.”

REDjet's chief executive and chairman is Irishman Ian Burns, still being a sporting chap sidestepped these remarks and responded thus in email, quote: “REDjet is the Caribbean's only low fares airline and proudly operates using our consumer-focused model with a commitment to providing the lowest fares on every route, on every flight. Ninety-eight per cent of REDjet's passengers stated that REDjet was excellent value and would fly with REDjet again. We believe this makes REDjet the most popular airline in the region for consumers.”

As for safety?

Not to worry, it was staff-tested, as per the picture below. If REDjet Chairman and CEO Ian Burns, seen in the picture below reassuring his guinea pigs…, I mean REDjet staff…..was dead, he should have stopped talking by now!

“These aircraft underwent a two-month programme of checks, maintenance and upgrades to ensure we develop a safe operation in Barbados” the mail further goes on to add with the current right to fly attesting to this fact. They may be old aircraft for their age, but they are most certainly airworthy!

To tally their routes, REDjet serves:

  1. Jamaica (October 2011AD)
  2. Barbados
  3. Guyana
  4. Trinidad and Tobago (July 28th 2011AD)

This is some additional information to that which I posted in my ride through history in my blog article entitled “REDjet all-clear for Jamaica and Trinidad Routes – Bigger Better Top Gun and CARICOM’s Iron Eagle”. And I am still batting for REDjet, West Indies Cricket style, the “father-and-son team that came from Europe” RyanAir clone to beat CAL in the next five (5) years, eventually even taking over the very same air routes that CAL will be flying come the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD!

Branching into Air Cargo may also be a route they may take to profitability with smaller, more efficient aircraft. Low cost travel, all to the benefit of the members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and CSME (Caribbean Single Market Economy)!!

Looks like Christmas 2011AD will be hot folks between these two (2) Contenders, Wray and Nephew Contender Style.

As for me? Alas, I dislike flying, despite having a ten (10) year US VISA from 2002!

But I love the smell of competition Hunt for Red October (1990) style, don’t you?

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