Air Jamaica to cut several routes on Thursday

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Air Jamaica to cut several routes on Thursday

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 26, 2009

Air Jamaica to cut several routes on Thursday
Thursday, 26 February 2009

Air Jamaica will cease flying to Atlanta, Los Angeles and Miami as well as some Caribbean routes.

Hit hard by the downturn in travel as a result of the global financial crisis, Air Jamaica says the cut in routes and other cost cutting measures will put the airline back on the road to profitability.

Under a business plan approved by Cabinet last month, the airline's management says it is desperate to stem the massive losses affecting the national carrier.

Air Jamaica acknowledged that the closure of the affected routes will result in reductions in the work force.

Pilots, flight attendants and ground staff will be among those relieved of their posts.

However, Air Jamaica's Chief Executive Officer Bruce Nobles says estimates of the number of persons that may be let go have not been decided.

Some are opting for voluntary redundancy.

"The employees in North America at the stations we are eliminating will be redundant although some of them will be transferred to other locations. The impact on the rest of our staff will be sorted out over the next few weeks,"

"We have a voluntary separation programme underway trying to get leaves of absence or early retirement,"

"Once we have sorted out how many people are able to leave on their own then we will decide what our excess manpower requirement is and then we will meet with the employee groups and work out what to do next so that process will take place over the next few weeks," said Mr. Nobles.

He says the focus will be shifted to the airline's home markets of South Florida, the Washington-New York corridor, and Toronto.

The airline's fleet will also be reduced from 15 to nine aircraft.

There are also plans to restructure existing leases and negotiate aircraft returns.

Meanwhile, the management of the airline is coming under more fire from the National Workers Union (NWU) for its decision to cut routes.

Vice President of the NWU, Granville Valentine, said the airline is being mismanaged and there is no justification for the cuts.

"Every country that is involved in the airline business knows exactly what transpired in the airline. Why is it that all the routes we have removed from immediately Delta, American Airlines, Virgin have filled those slots with immediate effect? Are they not in this business for money?"

"They must be doing something we are not doing and we are saying that it is the responsibility of the management of Air Jamaica and the government to ensure that our national airline stays afloat," said Mr. Valentine.

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