By Ben Kilbey
Air Jamaica has suffered another blow as the Government controlled airline has been forced to cancel all flights to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. These suspensions come amidst an increasing financial deficit currently equating to in excess of US$300 million.There are fears arising out of the Jamaican capital Kingston that the tourism industry could be badly affected. The news was announced on Friday and it has been suggested that flights could be grounded for at least four weeks.
An official statement said that;
“Effective immediately, Air Jamaica flights between Jamaica and Barbados, Jamaica and Grenada, and Jamaica and St Lucia have been suspended due to the new accelerated maintenance schedule required by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The full schedule will resume on April 16, 2005”.
The airline was forced into grounding North American flights in February. It is understood that there were, and still are, concerns over maintenance issues and Jamaica’s approach to civil aviation procedures.
The financial chaos at the troubled carrier also led to the redundancies of some 100 cabin staff.
Things have spiraled further out of control since Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart pulled his Air Jamaica Acquisition Group (AJAG) out of the award-winning carrier.
Air Jamaica once accounted for some 51 percent of all airlift to the Caribbean destination.