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Minister of Tourism, Hon Ed Bartlett, has urged Jamaicans in South Florida U.S.A to continue to support the national airline, Air Jamaica.
Speaking at a Thanksgiving Service to mark the airline’s 40th anniversary, at the Christway Baptist Church, Miramar, he told the congregation of nearly 600 Jamaicans and friends, that he was confident that Air Jamaica would continue to forge ahead, despite the challenges.
Mr. Bartlett said that the recent closure of service to several US gateways was a necessary adjustment, to enable it to become more efficient and competitive. Those decisions would, ultimately, position the airline to improve its results, ensuring a return to profitability.
Referring to the growth of Jamaica’s tourism product, Mr. Bartlett said that it was equally important to grow the availability of airlift to the island, noting that the airline has had an immeasurable impact on the way Jamaica has grown into a world-class destination.
He commended the staff for their contribution to the high level of repeat visitors, year after year.
“Our airline is the first point of contact visitors have with our country, before they even touch down in Jamaica,” he pointed out.
Air Jamaica’s Senior Director of Government Affairs and Community Mr. Will Rogers, echoed similar sentiments. He expressed appreciation to the Diaspora for contributing to the accomplishments.
With respect to the divestment of Air Jamaica, Mr. Rogers said it was the intention to maintain its Jamaican authenticity through service and performance.
A 35-year employee of Air Jamaica, Mr. Rogers also praised his staff for their outstanding performance over the years. He boasted of the impeccable safety record of the airline over four decades.
Executive member of the New Testament Church of God for the Caribbean, Bishop Fedlyn Beason, described Air Jamaica as “personal property” for all Jamaicans.
He said that 40 years was significant in biblical history and likened the “milestone” to a period of testing, trial, restoration, revival and renewal.
Similar tributes were extended by Dr. Rupert Rhodd, of the Wolmer’s Alumni Association, expressing gratitude on behalf of some 40 alumni associations in South Florida. He was followed by Commissioner Winston Barnes, of the City of Miramar, and Mr. Bevon Earle, South Florida media personality.
Also in attendance were Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths, the Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in South Florida.
The three-hour long service was punctuated with recitals of song and dance by the Christway Baptist Church Choir, the Jamaica Ex-Police Association Choir, the Tallawah Mento Band, the Sierra Norwood Church Children’s Choir, Steve Higgins and Friends, Joan Myers from the Grace Thrillers and soloist, Audley Beason.
Immediately following the service, the Staff of Air Jamaica hosted a fellowship reception.

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