Caribbean Airlines takes over Air Jamaica

Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines
has revealed that it intends to hire about 1,000 people from the total
workforce currently employed to Air Jamaica.

Such a move should come as a relief
to many workers, as it had been speculated within their ranks and publicly that
only around 300 people would be placed on the new payroll.

At the same time, Air Jamaica’s
divestment team has given the assurance that the airline’s more than 1,500
employees will receive their full redundancy pay and severance monies Friday,
when Government operates its final flight.

Government is transferring the
responsibility of operating Air Jamaica’s routes to Caribbean Airlines.

Dennis Lalor, chairman of the Air
Jamaica divestment team, said during the press conference held at Air Jamaica’s
offices on Harbour Street, downtown Kingston, that the contracts allowing for
the agreements would be signed by Friday.

Lalor also said all workers would
be paid severance pay on the last day of the company’s operations, and that
plans were afoot for Air Jamaica to pay over outstanding statutory deductions
to the National Housing Trust and the National Insurance Scheme.

Air Jamaica has not paid over
statutory deductions since 2008.

The Jamaican Government was seeking
to sell the airline but was unable to secure a buyer. Under the lease agreement
with Caribbean Airlines, Jamaica will receive a 16 per cent share in the
company, which is a measure of Air Jamaica’s brand – estimated at US$30
million.

Under the arrangement, details of
which are covered by a confidentiality clause, Jamaica will spend $22.5 billion
for the winding up of Air Jamaica’s operations. The country will also assume
all debts associated with the failed national carrier.

Starting 1 May, a new company –
Caribbean Airlines Air Jamaica Transition Limited – will operate the airline
until Caribbean Airlines takes over fully. The transition period is expected to
be six to 12 months.

Persons employed to the transition
company are to be offered three-month and six-month contracts with options to
renew.

BUZCaribbeanairlinesSTORY

Caribbean Airlines assumes control of Air Jamaica on 1 May.
Photo: File
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