Caribbean Airlines has finalised its acquisition of Air Jamaica, marking the largest aviation merger in Caribbean history.
The deal was made official at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Clair, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Minister of Finance, Winston Dookeran, and Jamaica’s Finance Minister, Audley Shaw, signed the agreement which was witnessed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, and Works and Transport Minister, Jack Warner.
The Government of Jamaica will now have a sixteen percent stake in the Trinidadian airline and a member appointed to the Caribbean Airlines Board of Directors. Jamaica’s Finance Minister the Honourable Audley Shaw indicated that the outgoing Chairman of Air Jamaica, the Honourable Dennis Lalor O.J., has been nominated by the Jamaican government as a candidate to be the Jamaican representative on the Caribbean Airlines board. Minister Shaw noted from all reports he had seen, Air Jamaica was being managed much better. He stated that he has also seen a significant improvement to the Air Jamaica operations in the past months which gives further encouragement that moving forward, the merger will be a success.
Chairman of Caribbean Airlines George M. Nicholas III remarked that the event marks a year of hard work since the initial commitment made on 30 April 2010. “We look forward to completing the transaction with the issuance of the shareholder’s certificates and to having the Honourable Mr. Lalor on the Caribbean Airlines Board. We have much to gain from his business acumen and his input into our operations.” The Caribbean Airlines Chairman added, “we want to officially welcome the Air Jamaica family to Caribbean Airlines and I am confident that we can realise the growth opportunities that are now present with us being ‘one Caribbean airline’. A truly Caribbean airline will now be of service to the Caribbean and its people.”
Caribbean Airlines has been actively integrating its operations with Air Jamaica in the past year with an accelerated integration programme since December 2010 being implemented. At the end of April 2011, the airline gave permanent Caribbean Airlines contracts to more than five hundred Air Jamaica workers as the airline continues its integration strategy of “one airline two brands.” It is expected before the end of the year, the full integration will complete with an all Boeing fleet servicing both the Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica brand.