EZjet attacks gov’t over Flag carrier status

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EZjet attacks gov’t over Flag carrier status

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Dec 18, 2012


EZjet attacks gov’t over Flag carrier status
...says it’s “A slap in the face to Guyana”
December 10, 2012

Grounded carrier EZjet on Sunday evening took a swipe at the Guyana government, for granting Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines Limited ( CAL) ag carrier status.

EZjet in a statement said the government failed to provide any support to the carrier, even as it was glaring Caribbean Airlines was using its Trinidad fuel subsidy to dominate the Guyana market, presumably the largest in the Caribbean.

EZjet said its entry into the New York market, saw Guyana passenger counts grew to 110%, because more passengers could afford to travel, as passengers benefited from record-setting ultra low fares, down one-half from their previous low record.

“When EZjet started flying in December 2011, Caribbean Airlines immediately added services to copy-cat EZjet. First, Caribbean got non-stop rights from Guyana, rather than fly via their home at Port of Spain. Then, Caribbean hired a dual-aisle B767 aircraft, similar to EZjet’s B767. Next, Caribbean matched EZjet’s 120-lbs baggage allowance, upgraded inflight meals, and friendly flight attendants. Finally, Caribbean lowered their fares far below their normal prices” EZjet alleged.

It added that Caribbean (Airlines) was able to offer well below cost seats because the Trinidad government finances Caribbean Airlines and because Caribbean Airlines gets most of their passengers from Guyana.

“In February of 2012, after enduring three months of unfair competition by Caribbean Airlines, EZjet complained to the Government of Guyana. In its complaint, EZjet stated Caribbean Airlines received special treatment from Guyana – enabling their New York flights to go non-stop instead of via Port of Spain, Caribbean flooded Guyana with excess seats, and Caribbean offered below cost fares” EZjet said.

EZjet CEO, Sonny Ramdeo, met with President Donald Ramotar to discuss CAL’s predatory actions and to request Government’s support to protect EZjet, the Àirline said, adding that, “government did not respond to EZjet and Caribbean continued their copy-cat, non-stop, below-cost fares.”

In July 2012, EZjet said it complained again Government about Caribbean Ailine’s “unfair competition”, citing the CARICOM Air Services Agreement signed by both Guyana and Trinidad, which required each country to eliminate unfair competition especially when directly supported through a subsidy.

“Again, Government elected not to stop Caribbean Airlines from preying on EZjet, and again EZjet continued transporting the majority of Guyana passengers”, it said

But the airline said it took umbrage of the fact that within one month after its suspension, the Government granted Guyana 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… how much did Caribbean Airlines pay to Government 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” .

The EZjet statement said.

However, EZjet said it plans to re-start flights before Easter 2013 and has sufficient investors to do so, but the difficulty EZjet and their investors are encountering is not so much Government’s favoritism towards Caribbean Airlines, rather it is Government permitting Caribbean Airlines to operate non-stop from Georgetown, instead of via their home in Port of Spain, supply more seats than are needed by Guyana, instead of enough seats, and unfairly compete by selling seats below cost, instead of at a competitive price.

“EZjet does not want to be ground-down again by Caribbean Airlines, supported by Government policies and Trinidad finances. EZjet wants to provide a fair and reasonably priced ticket on a reliable and well-served, frequent international air service for Guyana travelers,” the airline said, adding that “given even the semblance of level playing field, we can still have a Guyana airline flying Guyana passengers,” EZjet concluded.

Guyana last Wednesday accord Caribbean Airlines Flag Carrier Status.

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