Air Jamaica Fleet to Return to Full Strength Shortly – Dr. Lawrence


Executive Chairman of Air Jamaica, Dr. Vincent Lawrence has assured that the company’s fleet would soon return to full strength, enabling the national carrier to once again provide the kind of first-class service for which it was known.
“We anticipate that we should be back up and running with our full fleet very shortly and certainly as early as possible in March,” disclosed Dr. Lawrence, at a press conference at Air Jamaica’s Harbour Street offices on Thursday (February 24).
Air Jamaica has been experiencing substantial difficulties lately with only half of its fleet of 20 being operational at any given time. In apologizing to the airline’s customers, the recently appointed Executive Chairman outlined that the current situation was as a result of an audit carried out by the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which took issue with the airline’s maintenance schedule.
Dr. Lawrence further explained that the Air Jamaica management had planned to, as was customary, perform maintenance checks on most of their aircraft on an 18-month cycle, which would have seen the company carrying out maintenance work in the period, April to June. However, the FAA’s directive of an immediate reduction in the airline’s maintenance cycle from 18 months to 15 months meant that this schedule had to be adjusted.
“The new oversight regulations, which were enacted as of December 1, 2004, have impacted the operations of the airline at a critical time in our restructuring efforts. Our reliability and proud on-time performance record have been compromised and we have lost millions of dollars in revenue,” he told reporters.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, Dr. Lawrence pointed out that the airline had performed well and that its future appeared encouraging.
“Even with the discontinuation of flights to some destinations and reductions in frequencies to others, our operating results between December 23 and January 31, show a six per cent increase in revenue over the corresponding period last year,” he informed.
“Our team has been meeting with aircraft lessors and other creditors to re-negotiate lease arrangements and debts in an effort to make the payments more affordable. We have had some degree of success,” Dr. Lawrence said.
He expressed gratitude to the airline’s customers, travel partners, travel agents, and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) for forbearance and asked for continued support as his management team sought to speedily resolve the airline’s problems.

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