Room for growth in medium-craft airlift market - Derby

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Room for growth in medium-craft airlift market - Derby

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Aug 27, 2010

http://gleaner-ja.com/gleaner/20100827/ ... ess96.html

Room for growth in medium-craft airlift market - Derby
August 27, 2010

Both external and domestic air traffic are yet to return to levels of aircraft usage and landings maintained by Air Jamaica in its heyday, according to local airspace regulator Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, who says room for growth is to be found largely in the medium aircraft segment.

Derby, director general of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), says medium-size aircraft flying Jamaican routes number less than one third the total as well as the seating capacity used up by the former Air Jamaica Express.

At least two companies are vying for licences to take over the defunct operation's Caribbean routes - one of which is challenging the other's application.

Derby suggested there was room for more than one investor.

Air Jamaica, which flies international routes, is now down to six aircraft, said Derby, from the 20 it flew at peak; and with it, the number of landings has declined.

"Arrivals are down year over year, although there has been an increase in foreign aircraft, including, Jetblue," Derby said.

The latest to apply to the JCAA in the visiting aircraft segment is Sunwing Airlines Inc, which is seeking a one-year licence for routes between several Canadian cities and Montego Bay.

The JCAA is currently filling vacancies in its airworthiness department, but the civil aviation boss notes that the operations have not required an expansion in recent times because of the fall-off in aircraft and landings.

The section deals with aircraft maintenance, air operator certification, aircraft servicing, ramp operators and maintenance engineer licensing - all services relating to air operators and maintenance organisations in Jamaica and, for Jamaican operations overseas.

The sector which is growing, Derby states, is that of medium aircraft in the segment currently occupied by Jamaica Air Shuttle and Skyland.

The latter carrier is owned by Premier Aviation group, which signalled its intention to add more aircraft, and licensing to fly additional routes in and out of Jamaica's international gateways.

Derby said recent feasibility studies on Jamaica's air travel and market capacity show that demand in the sector is growing, with current flight capacity at one third the seven Air Jamaica Express craft, each of which had seating capacity of 37-57 passengers.

"Both in terms of seating capacity and fleet capacity, the segment is not back to former levels," said Derby.

"This suggests that there is room for growth."

As for the challenge of Air Turks and Caicos' licence application by Jamaica Air Shuttle's Christopher Reid, Derby said the JCAA was not allowed to discriminate between local service providers and those of different nationalities.

He said, however, that only local carriers can apply for local routes, but that others could apply for routes under bilateral air service agreements.

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