[Jamaica] Medics partner on all-cargo airline

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[Jamaica] Medics partner on all-cargo airline

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Jun 01, 2011

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/2011 ... ness1.html

[Jamaica] Medics partner on all-cargo airline
June 1, 2011
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Jamaican doctors Collie Miller and Winston F.B. Clarke and the Clarke family have teamed up in a new business, Exec Direct Aviation Services Limited (EDA), an all-cargo airline that will be offering service between Jamaica and Curaçao.

The partners have put US$1.5 million (J$128.6m) into the start-up, which will fly one carrier between the two islands each week.

Kamal Clarke, chief operating officer (COO) for EDA, said Tuesday the Kingston-based company chose Curaçao as its market because it was left "greatly underserved' with the dislocation of the old Air Jamaica routes, despite an estimated US$2 million of annual revenue potential.

EDA, which will begin operations with a single Saab 340A cargo aircraft in mid-June, plans to expand the service to Haiti, Turks and Caicos, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands.

Trips to Curaçao will be bi-weekly, with rates ranging between US$1 and US$1.60 per pound, and discounts for larger quantities.

The airline says its operation will also allow for cargo charters to the Eastern Caribbean and Latin America at its launch in mid-June.

On Tuesday, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that EDA was issued with a one-year licence for non-scheduled cargo service between Kingston and Curaçao from May 10, 2011 to May 9, 2012.

According to the COO, the new company has also secured permits from Curaçao to trans-ship cargo by air from that country.

EDA is wholly Jamaican owned, with shareholders listed as Miller and members of the Clarke family who are also operators of the Radio-Oncology Centre of Jamaica and X-Ray and Diagnostics Limited in Kingston.

Kamal is listed as a pilot on Companies Office records. He holds the largest bloc, 35.28 per cent, of EDA's ordinary shares; Dr Clarke holds 23.56 per cent; Miller 17.64 per cent, and Eileen Clarke and Kahlil Clarke each own 11.76 per cent.

The initial capital outlay covered the acquisition of the Saab 340A cargo aircraft, which a company release noted has the capability of transporting 8,000 pounds of cargo for approximately 600 miles.

"Our service will fill a gap in the movement of goods in the region, and thereby contribute to regional trade," said Kamal Clarke.

"The western Caribbean has lacked frequent, reliable, dedicated intra-island air cargo service for quite some time. We are targeting the micro business sector, large corporations in the Caribbean, and we are hoping to play a major role in assisting exporters in the expansion of their markets to places such as Haiti and other islands within the region."

Clarke told Wednesday Business that the freight market requires the right-sized aircraft and proper market development, something which has hitherto been ignored by other freight handlers who either consider the market too small or other airlines which are more focused on passengers rather than on freight.

"The real problem in the Caribbean is that markets need to be developed," he said.

As part of its growth plans, EDA plans to acquire more aircraft — "up to four turbo props," said Clarke, but said expansion would be funded from operations.

"We will not be seeking financing," he said.

The company says it will also make the Saab 340A cargo aircraft available, with complete crew, maintenance and insurance, to other airlines within the region on a short- to medium-term basis to facilitate temporary changes in their capacity requirements.

EDA is based out of the Norman Manley International Airport. Handling services will be provided by AJAS, the company said.
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