RED air was officially launched last week as the Dominican Republic’s fourth airline, in an event attended by the nation’s president, Luis Abinader.
The airline has Venezuelan capital from the Alvarez family, owner of LASER Airlines, as well as several Dominican partners. CEO Héctor Gómez explained that it plans to operate seven destinations in five countries by 2022 in its first stage of a three-phase strategy to be developed over the next two years.
They emphasized that RED Air is a Dominican-Venezuelan capital company that generates a hundred direct jobs, 95% of which are Dominican, in addition to impacting between 150 and 200 indirect jobs of contractor companies.
Initially, there will be four McDonnell Douglas MD-81 and MD-82 with a configuration of 12 seats in business class and 137 in economy class. Its current operation consists of flights between Santo Domingo/Las Americas (SDQ) and Miami (MIA) with two daily non-scheduled services, providing 2,000 seats per week. The company expects to upgrade to scheduled service by February 2022.
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It also has authorization from the Civil Aviation Board (JAC) for operations to Tampa (TPA), Florida; San José (SJO), Costa Rica; Medellín (MDE) and Cartagena (CTG) in Colombia; Panama (PTY) and Caracas (CCS) in Venezuela.
At the presentation ceremony, Abinader stressed that the new airline will promote trade and tourism and will also stimulate competition, contributing to “more reasonable prices”.
Abinader also said that the tourism sector, the most important sector of the Dominican economy, is at “its best moment”, which goes “in the direction of the robust economic recovery of the country”.
Boom of domestic airlines in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican market was largely dominated by foreign airlines, which supported the country’s tourism and economic sector. Now, with a strong increase in demand, several national players have entered the field. The Dominican Republic surpassed 5% of pre-pandemic passenger traffic, according to the latest November data from the Civil Aviation Board.
Air Century and Sky High Dominicana have accompanied the recovery from their bases at La Isabela Airport (JBQ) and Las Americas (SDQ) respectively, focused on destinations within the Caribbean.
Being the country with the highest recovery rate in the region during the current health crisis, both companies have invested to reactivate most of their destinations according to the restrictions of each country.
Air Century has flights to Havana (HAV) in Cuba; Oranjestad (AUA) in Aruba; Philipsburg (SXM) in St. Martin; Willemstad (CUR) in Curaçao and Port-au-Prince (PAP) in Haiti; operating with CRJ-200, Saab 340 and BAE Jetstream 31/32 aircraft. On the other hand, Sky High Aviation Services, in its Embraer ERJ 145, has an extensive offer of destinations in the Eastern Caribbean, French and Dutch.
Another start-up that has gained momentum is Sky Cana, a company that has three Airbus A321s, operating under the Air Century orbit to Miami and New York from Santo Domingo, and another connection to the Big Apple from Santiago de los Caballeros.