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Fly Jamaica return to service still ‘up in the air’

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Fly Jamaica return to service still ‘up in the air’

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Sep 24, 2019

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2019/09/13 ... n-the-air/

Fly Jamaica return to service still ‘up in the air’
September 13, 2019

While this month had originally been targeted for the return of Fly Jamaica to the skies, the latest indications are that the timetable may still be ‘up in the air,’ so to speak, as unresolved issues still appear to hang ominously over the head of the controversial airline.

A story in the Friday September 6 issue of the Jamaica Gleaner quoted the airline’s founder, Guyanese Ronald Reece, as saying that no deal has as yet been finalised for the takeover of the airline. The same story quotes Glen Logan, who purportedly heads up a team seeking to acquire the airline and who had reportedly set September as the likely time line for the return of the carrier to service, who would only say last week that his team was still in talks with Reece.

As far as the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority is concerned, Fly Jamaica is suspended from service and any return to service would have to be preceded by re-certification. The application and review process, we are told, has not even begun.

Where an early return to service is concerned, Fly Jamaica is batting on a decidedly ‘sticky wicket.’ Setting aside the fact that its customer appeal had been badly undermined by service reliability issues, That apart, the airline is still to settle outstanding salary payments to employees, dating back to 2007, which issue is engaging the Civil Aviation Authorities and the Labour Ministries in both Guyana and Jamaica.

But the challenges facing the problem-riddled airline do not stop there. One suspects that it will take an enormous and sustained public relations effort to get travellers to put behind them the November 2017 incident when the airline’s Boeing 757 aircraft en route to Toronto from Georgetown skidded off the runway as an emergency landing was being attempted at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri. The September 6 Gleaner story reports Egbert Field, Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), as saying that local investigations had found that the right undercarriage and right engine of the aircraft had collapsed, and that the right wing had also been damaged.

The Gleaner report also alludes to differences between Reece and Logan over disclosures that the latter has reportedly made.

In order to return to active service, Fly Jamaica “would have to go through a process of certification to demonstrate that they have all the necessary personnel, equipment, facilities, and so on, in accordance with the Jamaica Civil Aviation regulations,” the Kingston agency says. The typical new applicant, the Agency says, would be faced with a certification process lasting up to 12 months.

Logan, the Gleaner reports, had earlier told the Financial Gleaner in a previous interview that the Fly Jamaica fleet will be expanded immediately to at least five aircraft, though the company’s equally critical challenge reposes in the restoration of customer confidence.

Logan is also quoted as saying that once the service is restored, scheduled flights are expected to account for less than half of Fly Jamaica’s business, while the bigger portion will come from the packaged tours market through charters – to be done through a subsidiary operation called Fly Jamaica Vacations.

Fly Jamaica’s gradual meltdown is a far cry from the celebratory scenes associated with its January 2013 first official flight to the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on January 25, 2013 after it had satisfied all the requirements to obtain its flying certificate.

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