JIS News

Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Evadne Coye, has called on Jamaicans living in Canada to continue to support the country’s national airline, Air Jamaica.
The High Commissioner was speaking recently at a special church service, held at the Revivaltime Tabernacle in Toronto, Canada, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the first Air Jamaica flight – a twin-jet DC-9 – which left Kingston for Miami on April 1, 1969, with 90 passengers and crew.
“We from the foreign service have always done our best to support Air Jamaica wherever we are. I am asking you to do that today,” High Commissioner Coye told the congregation.
She recalled the tears of pride when she saw the Air Jamaica airplane for the first time 40 years ago. “I still feel that pride whenever I see that bird today,” she said.
Air Jamaica’s Director of Sales, George deMercado, noted that although these are challenging times for the airline, it is empowered by the positives of its 40-year history.
“We are getting ready to embrace the future and Air Jamaica is going to emerge from our current transformation a more valuable company, buoyed by commitment from our employees who do good work to make sure that we succeed. And, we can succeed if we get support from people like you in this congregation,” he said.
He noted that since Air Jamaica has been in existence, many other airlines have folded, including PanAm, TWA, Eastern Airlines, National Airlines and People’s Express.
“But after 40 years, the little piece of Jamaica that flies, is still flying. Airlines take off and airlines land, and we have had our ups and downs. The difference for us is that we are distinctly Jamaican and we are a dynamic expression of the spirit and warmth of the people of Jamaica and the place we call home,” the Director said.
Mr. deMercado also paid tribute to the staff of Air Jamaica, noting that, “over 2,000 people have put their hands, minds and bodies together to make sure that we have a successful operation. One of the amazing things about the Air Jamaica family is that of those 2,000 people, there are some 27 persons who are still with us that were there on day one.”
Also attending the service were: Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner; President of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams; Paul Barnett of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations; Bishop Audley James of Revivaltime Tabernacle; and present and former staff of Air Jamaica, including Area Sales Manager in Canada, Norma Sale; Airport Manager, Shelly Goulbourne and one of the airline’s first flight attendants, Sandra Scott, who is now the Regional Manager of the Jamaica Tourist Board.