An Air Jamaica plane was seized at Miami International Airport in Florida Wednesday afternoon by creditors anxious to collect on a US$7-million debt owed by the carrier.
Airline industry sources told the Jamaica Observer that the plane was seized by International Lease Financing Corporation agents at about 4:30 pm in front of passengers who were to fly to Jamaica on what would have been JM024.
Air Jamaica CEO Mike Conway confirmed the seizure, but said that all passengers were accommodated at hotels and would be flown to Jamaica this morning.
Conway declined to name the lessor on whose behalf the ILFC agents acted. However, he said the action was triggered by nervousness on the part of the lessor.
“There are a number of contractual disputes,” said Conway without giving details. “The lessor was nervous about press reports and Minister (Donald) Buchanan talking about downsizing.”
Just last week, the Government rejected a new business plan presented by Air Jamaica and told the national carrier’s bosses to devise a new plan around its US$30-million subsidy.
The Government has, however, given a commitment to keep the airline flying.