A plane carrying 126 passengers caught fire when its landing gear failed at Miami International Airport on Tuesday, leaving passengers fleeing from the aircraft and many observers wondering about the airline that was operating the flight.
Red Air is one of the region’s newest airlines. The company, which is based in the Dominican Republic, launched in the fall of 2021 — looking to challenge other cut-rate airlines by offering relatively affordable flights between the US and the Caribbean country.
Traveling Lifestyle reported on Tuesday that the company had just added 20 weekly flights to the US as parts of its 2022 growth strategy, which centered on adding bases in a number of Central and South American cities as well as US cities with strong ties to the Dominican Republic.
South Florida, and Miami in particular, have robust populations of Domnican Americans. More Dominican Americans live in New York and New Jersey, but Florida’s geographical proximity — it takes roughly two hours to fly to the Dominican Republic from Miami — made the city a natural US base for the fledgling airline.
Red Air has attempted to distinguish itself in other ways, as well. Traveling Lifestyle reported that the airline offers passengers the ability to check bags free of charge.
The airline operates McDonnell Douglas aircraft, with its fleet reportedly consisting of three MD-82s and a single MD-81. According to Simple Flying, the plane that crash landed in Miami was an MD-82 with registration of HI1064 that was previously operated by the Caracas, Venezuela-based LASER Airlines. Production on that line of plane was stopped in 1999.
McDonnell Douglas was once a leading US aerospace manufacturing company based outside of St. Louis, but ceased to exist after merging with Boeing in 1997. Delta Airlines stopped flying McDonnell Douglas planes in June 2020, though the carrier at that point retained a fleet of aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas in the ‘90s.