THE Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), seeking to drag its expenditure back in line with its income, says its undertaking a major overhaul of its operations that will involve cutting of at least 60 jobs, or about 18 per cent of its staff, at Kingston`s Norman Manley International Airport.
A similar re-organisation at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay will come later, when the AAJ divests the facility, perhaps at mid-year, to a consortium led by the Canadian outfit, Vancouver Airports Services, the AAJ`s chairman, Dennis Morrison, confirmed last night.
The AAJ expects to achieve the staff reduction at Norman Manley by a combination of out-sourcing non-core functions such as janitorial services, early retirement and voluntarily redundancies, according to the authority`s vice president for human resource development and administration, Charmaine Heslop-DaCosta.
“We are looking at operating in our core business and looking for companies to which we can out-source functions such as janitorial and garden and land services,” she said.
Between the positions to be lost from the out-sourcing, the voluntary redundancies and early retirement, according to Heslop-DaCosta, “we are looking at about 60 persons.”
“After that I don`t see us going to have to do much more,” she added.
The AAJ, which has a turn-over of $1.4 billion, but in recent years has reported annual losses, employs 335 people in its Kingston operations. It has a similar number of employees in Montego Bay.
AAJ officials say its wage bill has been pushed substantially out of whack by a job reclassification programme over the past two years that led to substantial increases in salaries, which now accounts for about 60 per cent of the AAJ`s costs. The agency expects to bring that closer to the expected norm for firms of not higher than 40 per cent.
But according to Morrison, the reduction of costs will not only come only from reining in wages.
For instance, he said, staff at AAJ`s headquarters at the Victoria Mutual Building on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston have been contained in one floor, instead of the previous two.
“We are also flattening out the organisation,” Morrison said. “We now have fewer tiers of management and a far more decentralised operation. Sangster and Norman Manley now operate more on their own with oversight from the head office.”