Fly Jamaica makes staffers redundant; hopes for return in “couple” of months

Ronald Reece

Fly Jamaica has told its staffers that it is experiencing cash problems and are making redundant effective tomorrow  – March 31, 2019.

Fly Jamaica is also hoping to start flying again in a few months but, in the meantime, a sloth in processing refunds continues to upset passengers who were left in limbo.

According to a letter yesterday to staffers, Chairman, Captain Ronald Reece, said that a lack of an aircraft and the impact on the finances has caused the decision.

“It is with great sadness and remorse that we have arrived at this juncture. We are hoping for funding but that has been slow in coming, therefore for the time being, no other resources or options exist.”     

The airline asked staffers for patience as it still owes them and will pay.

Fly Jamaica, he said, is finding difficulty in finding financing.
Reece opened the possibilities of rehiring of the staffers at a later time.

On November 9, Fly Jamaica’s Boeing 757 aircraft ran off the runway at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, after experiencing hydraulic problems. On board were 128 persons.

Since then, the two-plane airline which is based in Jamaica and partially owned by Guyanese has not been operating to New York and Toronto destinations.

Passengers have been complaining of delays in their refunds. Scores of passengers had pre-booked flights before the crash.

Many of them are claiming that their monies are in limbo.

Fly Jamaica said that some passengers had claimed back from the credit card companies and had also filed claims with airline.

On Thursday, Captain Ronald Reece, Chairman of Fly Jamaica, said that the company has been providing refunds to valued customers.

“All requests for refunds are being honoured. However, it is a process that has to be checked by our reservations and ac

The plane crash landing in November

counts staff. Some passengers would obviously like to see the process move faster, but we have to be constrained by our cash and credit card business safeguards,” Reece said in the statement.

“Fly Jamaica Airways Limited is not currently operating any aircraft. However, we hope to restart flight operations in a couple of months.”
Earlier this month, the regulator, Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which is tasked with licensing, said that there is little that can be done at the moment as the company has not been closed.

Rather, company officials were called in, where according to Director-General Lt. Colonel (Ret’d), Egbert Field, the “displeasure” of the authority was made known.

Travel agents, especially in New York, have been complaining bitterly of passengers demanding their money, almost four months after the crash left the airline scrambling to find aircraft.

Questioned about a mandatory $40M cash bond that the company would have had to deposit, Field had said that it cannot be touched unless the company closes.

“We cannot give them a timeline unless they decide to close. When we need various documents from the home base and if they cannot submit them to us, then we can declare that they no longer have the approval of authority to fly. We have not reached that stage yet.”

After that November 28 crash, passengers recounted that upon touchdown, the aircraft sped past the airport terminal, past the end of the existing runway and onto the newly extended portion of the runway, which was not officially opened. It is being said that the pilot experienced brake failure when he touched down.

The aircraft careened into the chain linked fence before coming to rest in the trap at the end of the runway with the front of the plane perched above a ravine.

The right wing of the aircraft was broken along with the engine. Government had appointed Paula McAdam, a former senior official of GCAA, to investigate the crash.

The absence of Fly Jamaica would be hard felt in a market that needs the seats for especially the New York destination.

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Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On March 30, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Just a crazy thought: Has CARICOM ever considered coming together as member nations to fund and operate a regional airline? Maybe, it has already been attempted and failed.

    • wally n  On March 30, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      You really believe that can ever work, never worked before, if it was ever tried today, they would leave Guyana holding the bag. Guyana had its own airline had to compete against all of them. Since all [most] of the Caribbean now unemployed, Guyana should have a regional airline taking the place of LIAT, initially, because they all heading to Guyana to find work, then maybe go international, nothing we can’t do, we did it all without cash, oh the possibilities.

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 30, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Rosaliene: This mess will be resolved after they come to their senses and dump this nonsense about ‘we want we own!’

    Caribbean Airlines – LIAT and all the other struggling airlines should be merged.

    We ran into the same issues up here in Canada, the result: – Air Canada

    CN is a result of several struggling railways, the result: a railway that runs from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico – profitably.

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 30, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Check this out:

    http://www.looptt.com/content/no-more-liat-airline-serious-financial-difficulty

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