Rolle pleased with WA's Jamaica route

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Rolle pleased with WA's Jamaica route

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Sep 09, 2010

http://freeport.nassauguardian.net/nati ... 126331.php

Rolle pleased with WA's Jamaica route
By K. NANCOO-RUSSELL
Freeport News Reporter
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Western Air President Rex Rolle says he is pleased with the success of the company's recently added Jamaica routes and hopes to see the airline expand soon into other markets within the Caribbean region.

Rolle said the company's daily flights into Kingston and Montego Bay from Nassau have been doing quite well, especially the Kingston route.

"We actually see a combination of Bahamian and Jamaicans travellers. We notice, to our surprise, a lot of Bahamians going down, coming back, and you have Jamaican that reside here that may work in The Bahamas and then we have a lot of Jamaicans coming up for short-term or long-term visits," he said.

The company first introduced service to those destinations in April, after Air Jamaica discontinued its flights on those routes, although it later picked them back up.

Rolle said he was surprised that Air Jamaica did re-enter the market, knowing that Western Air had picked up those routes. In the first few weeks after Air Jamaica began servicing the route once more, he said Western Air saw a decrease in its passenger numbers, however, they soon picked up, especially on the Kingston route.

"It had an effect initially, but I guess once people realized that we had a daily service to and from Kingston and to and from Montego bay, we were the carrier of choice as it relates to convenience. They (Air Jamaica) don't run a direct flight from Monetgo Bay... We are the only direct flight," he explained.

Air Jamaica has also not been able to sustain the daily flights it started off with, Rolle noted, something he said he belives may have to do with the size of its aircraft.

"It may be a high load factor for us because we run a 33-seater, but they run a 150-seater airbus which is not suited for that route, but of late we have been working in collaboration with them, they have been doing a lot of cancellations and they have been putting their passengers on our aircraft," he said.

Acknowledging that there is not enough volume to sustain both airlines, Rolle said he had to take a long hard look at the situation to determine his next move.

"We determined that the route is more or less a 30-seater aircraft route so if it was let's say a 50 or 80 seater route then we would have really just suspended service. We know that Air Jamaica, they have concerns now about the route and about their load factor, so we believe that they will cut back in time, if not cut the whole route."

Moving forward, Rolle said he expects to meet with the Jamaican Ministers of Tourism and Transport on September 15, where he hopes to further discuss the possibility of Western Air building a hub in Montego Bay.

Since Air Jamaica downsized earlier this year, he said, it had also discontinued its Havana-Montego bay and Kingston-Curacao routes, among others.

"What happened is that the European tourists, I was told, come into Havana, and after they do Havana they go into Montego bay or they fly into Turks and Caicos or Puerto Plata and from there into Kingston," he said.

"Right now there is no link between Jamaica and those destinations. So the meeting that we will be having is to discuss the possibility of linking the Montego Bay airport and the Norman Manley airport with other Caribbean destinations like Santo Domingo, Provo and Hav-ana."

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