[US$190K - GY$] $38M owed to Guyana passengers – EZJet

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[US$190K - GY$] $38M owed to Guyana passengers – EZJet

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Dec 11, 2012

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2012/ ... ers-ezjet/

[US$190K - GY$] $38M owed to Guyana passengers – EZJet
- cusses Govt. for granting CAL flag carrier status
December 11, 2012

Suspended air charter, EZjet Air Services, has criticized Government over its decision to grant Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flag carrier status, and vowed yesterday to return to full operations by Easter next year.
EZjet now says that it has found investors.

Already, nearly two-thirds of all its stranded passengers have since been refunded.

The outstanding sum due to passengers in Guyana is approximately US$190,000 ($38M) with 300 passengers still to get refunds, EZjet said.

EZjet denied that 3,000 passengers are owed and said that travel agencies are also processing refunds. However, the company declined to say how much is owed by the travel agencies. It also claimed it is owed US$260,000 ($52M), pointing out that it has a US$200,000 cash bond posted with the Government.

EZjet was pulled from the skies by the US Government in early November after Swift Air, an aircraft operator, complained to the Department of Transportation there that it is owed a large sum of money. Guyana and Canada reportedly followed shortly after and also suspended EZjet from selling tickets.

The EZjet office in New York was closed and upset passengers have been demanding their refunds.
The company, in asking for patience yesterday, said that its Chief Executive Officer, Sonny Ramdeo, is very much in charge and cooperating with the FBI in their investigation relating to the alleged diversion of US$5.4 million by his former employer, Promise Healthcare which runs a number of hospitals.
Ramdeo in charge

The EZjet statement yesterday said that Ramdeo is managing the refund process and coordinating day to day activities with staffers and travel agencies who are facilitating passenger refunds.

Regarding the situation in New York, the company said that audits are being carried out on passenger ticket sales and baggage charges, reconciling travel agent and passenger accounts, and refunds to more passengers began yesterday.

In Toronto, Canada, to which EZjet had also been flying, all “passenger payments for not-flown flights are being held in trust by the Canada quasi-agency TICO. All reimbursements to passengers who paid more to return home to Toronto on Caribbean Airlines are also being paid by EZjet Canada.”

Passengers in Trinidad will start receiving refunds next week, EZjet said.

Meanwhile, the company in a separate statement, stressed that it is a slap in the face to Guyana that Caribbean Airlines was granted flag carrier status.

The company said it flew more than 500 New York flights since it started last December, transporting two-thirds of the passengers travelling the route with Guyana.

“As a result of EZjet’s entry into the New York market, Guyana passenger counts grew to 110 per cent, because more passengers could afford to travel. EZjet’s passengers benefited from record-setting ultra low fares, down one-half from their previous low record.”
CAL is a copy-cat

EZjet accused Caribbean Airlines of copying them and even deliberately lowering seat costs. EZjet said that it complained to the Government of Guyana over the unfair competition from Caribbean Airlines but to no avail.

“Within one month after EZjet suspended its flights, Government granted Guyana’s national airline status to Caribbean Airlines. So, no need to thank Guyana’s EZjet for low fares, instead better to thank Guyana’s newest airline, Caribbean Airlines.”

EZjet also questioned whether Caribbean Airlines paid Government any money to become Guyana’s national airline. “Nothing, and surely not the $50 million that Caribbean paid to the Government of Jamaica for the same privilege.”

EZjet in signaling its restart for next April is also demanding that Government stop Caribbean Airlines from operating non-stop flights from Georgetown, instead of their home in Port of Spain. The airline also wants government to ensure that Caribbean Airlines does not unfairly compete by selling seats below cost, instead of at a competitive price.

“Given even the semblance of level playing field, we can still have a Guyana airline flying Guyana passengers.”

Since starting its flights last year, there have been questions about EZjet; its source of financing and whether its financing structure would have allowed it to survive.

Government and EZjet accused Kaieteur News and Opposition politicians of scaring away passengers.
Ramdeo, its CEO, resigned after a US healthcare company sued EZjet and the official for allegedly stealing over US$5.4M and passing some of the monies through the bank accounts of the airline.

Government had said at the time of EZjet’s suspension last month that there may be some 25,000 to 30,000 advance bookings for the months of November and December 2012.

There has since been revelations that the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been questioning Ramdeo.

The official, a Guyanese from Windsor Forest, has not been seen in Guyana since EZjet was suspended.

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