Air Jamaica was re-launched in North America earlier, with leaders outlining ambitious plans to reclaim ground lost over the past two years.
Following a successful merger with Caribbean Airlines, the carrier will return to the skies in the summer with the launch of a new route to London.
Two new planes are also on order, with Air Jamaica hoping to have them in place ahead of the key summer holiday season.
Air Jamaica’s manager of sales, William Rodgers, went on to explain the government of Jamaica would maintain a 16 per cent stake in the new entity, which has an estimated market value of US$500 million.
Ambassador Rodney Charles, Trinidad & Tobago’s permanent representative to the United Nations, added the merger of two iconic brands – Air Jamaica and CAL – was another positive milestone.
“As small nations – of the Caribbean – we can achieve great things if we work together,” he declared.
Caribbean Airlines was itself recognised as Caribbean’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards in 2010.
Sounding a cautious note, George Nicholas, chairman of Caribbean Airlines, said the true merit of the merger would not emerge for three years.
“We will know whether or not the Air Jamaica buy was a good buy in two to three years time,” Nicholas said.
“If you understand marketing and if you understand the equity that was spent to build a brand you will understand that that brand, will in the future give you returns if you market it properly and you serve it with the right products,” he added.
While the challenge from major players in the region – including American Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic – remained fierce, Nicholas was confident Air Jamaica could complete.
“We intend to get back to three of four days a week flights to London on 777s.
“On Tuesday the board decided to lease four 787 aircrafts and that should give you an idea of the kind of airline we intend to build.”