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Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines implemented official transition plan on 1st May

To ensure a smooth transaction process during the formal takeover of Caribbean Airlines over Air Jamaica the two airlines had agreed on a deadline at the start of this month to start the official transition plans.

Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines implemented official transition plan on 1st May

The official takeover of Caribbean Airlines over Air Jamaica was due on 1st May this May with the implementation of a transition plan to guarantee a smooth transaction which will see the Jamaican lovebird continuing its operations servicing the Jamaica holidays air market under agreements with the Trinidadian carrier.

Now all negotiations have been sealed and completes, the two airlines flying millions of passengers to Caribbean holidays were due to formally sign a number of agreements to cement the deal, the Chairman of Air Jamaica, Dennis Lalor informed when addressing journalists at a press conference at the airline's downtown Kingston head offices.

Part of the agreement is that the Jamaican Government will transfer Air Jamaica's routes to Caribbean Airlines, for a 16 % ownership in Caribbean Airlines. However, Mr. Lalor made it clear that, "the Government of Jamaica remains the owner of all of Air Jamaica's other assets, including its real estate assets and industrial assets." He also indicated that this deal was "superior" to what was contemplated with the other bidder in the divestment process.

Initial operations will see Caribbean Airlines continuing to serve routes for passengers booking their Jamaica holiday flights with Air J from: JFK to Montego Bay, JFK to Kingston, Baltimore to Montego Bay, Philadelphia to Montego Bay, Toronto to Kingston, Fort Lauderdale to Montego Bay, and Fort Lauderdale to Kingston. Plans for other routes are to be announced by Caribbean Airlines.

Overseeing the future of Jamaica holidays with the Jamaican carrier being in better and more capable hands, all of Air Jamaica's financial responsibilities will be turned over to Caribbean Airlines, which the Chairman said, "has the adequate financial strength to sustain their commitment to Jamaica."

In this regard, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has agreed to increase Caribbean Airlines capital by US$50 million. This move, Lalor said, provides adequate assurance to the Divestment Committee that enough funding will be available for the project. Lalor also stressed that there will be no disruption to current services, as all tickets issued will be duly honoured. On the other hand US$9 million has been set aside to deal with refunds for advance ticket sales.

He was also quick to highlight that staff should face no economic disruptions during the transaction process, as the government has assured that the proper arrangements have been made to take care of statutory payments. The categories of workers who will be rehired by Caribbean Airlines include 200 flight crew, with the remainder being ground and maintenance crews.

On his part, Director of Caribbean Airlines, Shafeek Sultan-Kahn said certain criteria had been used to select staff who are to be rehired. In relation to the trade unions, Sultan-Khan said: "We have been criticised for not meeting with unions (but).it would be presumptuous of us to make any representation with the unions, for one simple reason - we have no workers as yet. Air Jamaica was still the employer until the 30th of April. We are in the process of making employment offers"

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