Hundreds Welcome News of Air Jamaica’s Resumption to Canada


Hundreds of Jamaicans turned up recently to welcome the news that Air Jamaica will resume flights to Canada on April 5, 2004.
The announcement was made at the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) in Toronto, Canada, by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman of Air Jamaica.
“Air Jamaica will be the prettiest bird that has ever flown the Canadian sky,” said Mr. Stewart, at a gala event organized by the airline.
He pointed out that for the first time in 13 years, an Air Jamaica flight would depart daily from Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto at 8:45 a.m. to arrive in Kingston at the Norman Manley International Airport at 11:55 a.m., before continuing on to Montego Bay. The return flight would depart Kingston at 1:30 p.m. with a brief stop in Montego Bay and then arriving in Toronto at 8:00 p.m.
Air Jamaica last flew out of Canada in 1990. Although the airline has maintained a code share arrangement with Air Canada, which makes several seats available to Air Jamaica on each Air Canada flight, Jamaicans have long expressed disappointment that Air Jamaica was not flying out of Canada.
The return of Air Jamaica to the Canadian skies was a commitment by the airline to fly from any city where there was a large Jamaican population, said Mr. Stewart, who is also the Chairman of Sandals/Beaches Resorts.
Air Jamaica serves 23 destinations in the Caribbean, the United States and the United Kingdom, with a fleet of 20 aircraft. “It is the most modern fleet,” said Mr. Stewart.
Air Jamaica was recently named the ‘Best Airline to the Caribbean’ at the World Travel Awards for the fifth consecutive year. It won the Five-Star diamond award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and was voted World’s Best Honeymoon airline Award by Modern Bride magazine.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, Carl Marshall, who was among the large gathering at the JCA, said this has been the dream of the Jamaican community “to see the lift-off again of Air Jamaica from the Pearson International Airport in Toronto”.
Noting that Air Jamaica’s success was Jamaica’s success, the High Commissioner added that the airline also represented national pride, “a reference point to the growing improvement in Jamaica’s profile and reputation, Jamaican entrepreneurial genius and a Jamaican product that stands abreast with the best in the travel industry”.
Consul General, Vivia Betton, expressed joy that Air Jamaica was returning to the Canadian marketplace and noted that the return of Jamaica’s national airline would boost Jamaica’s tourism.
Speaking with JIS News, several persons in attendance had positive comments about the impending return of Air Jamaica.
“I can’t wait. A lot of times Jamaicans are not treated properly when we travel.Air Jamaica won’t do that to us. I was going to Jamaica for Christmas but I am now going to put it off until the Spring or Summer so that I will be able to travel with Air Jamaica,” Jacqui Mills said.
Roy Buchanan, who has been living in Canada for the past 28 years and has never flown with Air Jamaica, said he was looking forward to the resumption date.
It is the best news that Jamaicans have received in this country in a long time. “I want to be on that first flight out of Toronto to Jamaica and I am going to encourage all my friends and relatives to be on it too. I’ll be selling Air Jamaica to anybody I come across,” Norma Brown-Larro told JIS News.

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