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New President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Jamaica Limited, Michael Conway has said that the national carrier could return to being a reliable and competitive airline, providing on-time service.
“The airline can get back to where I know it was with reliable, on-time service. I’m confident that this and the support from Jamaicans can make the airline compete with anybody,” Mr. Conway said, adding, “I’ll be placing a lot of emphasis on why the airline is late and rest assured the airline must be reliable and on-time and we will figure out how to do that hopefully in short fashion.” He was speaking yesterday (Oct. 19) at a press briefing held at the Ministry of Finance and Planning’s Heroes Circle offices, where the Minister, Dr. Omar Davies announced the new Board and Chief Executive Officer of Air Jamaica Limited. The announcement comes 10 months after Government reassumed control of the national airline in December 2004.
Mr. Conway’s appointment becomes effective on November 1. He is a highly qualified professional with decades of experience at the senior level in the airline industry.
Over the course of his career, he has co-founded two United States Airlines and became the youngest CEO of major airline, America West in 1991, after the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the Gulf War crisis. He successfully restructured that carrier both financially and strategically and achieved record profitability in 1993. “Of special significance to us is that Mr. Conway has explicitly indicated that he will be a full-time resident of Jamaica,” Dr. Davies noted.
“I am confident that this combination of persons who comprise the new Board will, under the Chairmanship of O.K. Melhado, carry the airline forward and continue the rebuilding work started under Dr. Vin Lawrence’s chairmanship,” he stated. The Finance Minister added that, “the appointment of the new Board marks the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Air Jamaica. The road to success will be a long and difficult one and it is imperative that we start on the right track. The ultimate goal is a viable and profitable Air Jamaica, one we can all be proud of – our piece of Jamaica that flies.” Dr. Davies extended his appreciation to the outgoing Board for the work they had done, in spite of the challenges.
The new Board consists of several interim Board members including Owen K. Melhado, Chairman; Noel Hylton, President and CEO, of the Port Authority of Jamaica; Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Derrick Latibeaudiere; government Senator Noel Sloley; Millicent Hughes, Accountant General; and Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism.
The new members include Dr. Jeffrey Meeks, Orthodontist; Prof. Rex Nettleford, Vice Chancellor Emeritus; Horace Reid, businessman; and Sophia Lowe, student. According to Dr. Davies, a workers’ representative on the Board would be named shortly.