Air Jamaica intensifies search for strategic partner

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Air Jamaica intensifies search for strategic partner

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Dec 20, 2008 ... RTNER_.asp

Air Jamaica intensifies search for strategic partner
Thursday, December 18, 2008

NEW YORK, USA (CMC) - Air Jamaica is scouring the United States market in the hope of finding a new "strategic" partner that can help the cash-strapped carrier turnaround its economic fortunes.

"Whether the partner is another airline, a hotel company or even a financial company, the goals must be in sync: Maintain the brand and its value in the marketplace, and put the airline in a solid financial position," said Bruce Nobles, the new president and chief executive officer of the airline.

He stressed that while Air Jamaica was seeking a partner that can put capital into the airline which has racked up billions of dollars in debt, "it must be a strategic partnership".

During his recent visit to the US, Nobles was busy discussing the current status and future plans for the airline with consumers, members of the travel industry and the media.

He said the airline's name and brand would remain unchanged under the divestment programme, which is scheduled to take place in March 2009. Nobles also said Air Jamaica was committed to serving the needs of the Jamaican community.

He described Air Jamaica as a "large and important component" of Jamaica's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), providing 2,000 jobs and bringing 50 per cent of the visitors to the island.

Nobles said the airline does not have any immediate plans to start flying to new destinations and was currently evaluating which of its current destinations "make sense and which do not from an economic and passenger demand standpoint".

He said the major emphasis in today's economy is consumer demand on pricing, disclosing plans by the airline to announce a variety of sale fares, designed to make travel to the Caribbean more affordable "during this all-important winter season".

Air Jamaica has also renewed its commitment to on-time service with Nobles stating that over the past three months the airline has significantly improved its on-time performance.

"The resounding message delivered during Mr Nobles' visit to the US is that the name Air Jamaica will continue to live on, and the airline will continue to provide the great service to which its clients have become accustomed to over the years," an Air Jamaica statement added.

Last year, Air Jamaica lost US$170 million, and this year it is projected to lose another US$200 million.

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