PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – The end of the Air Jamaica brand appears imminent as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has instructed national carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to drop its Air Jamaica branding from its aircraft. According to reports by the Trinidad Express, CAL has been informed that the use of the Air Jamaica brand does not comply with CAL’s airline operator certificate and, despite the acquisition of Air Jamaica’s routes, CAL is in fact not licensed to operate the two brands, although it has been doing so for over a year.
It is understood that For CAL to use the Air Jamaica brand, it would in fact have to register a new airline in the name of Air Jamaica.However, although CAL is now racing to comply, reports are that this is not a new development as the CAA notified the Trinidadian airline of the disparity a few months ago as it sought to improve its systems ahead of a planned audit by the international Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). CAL’s head of Corporate Communications Clint Williams confirmed that CAL had received recommendations from CAA which had been passed to its new line minister, Vasant Bharath.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Development, Bharath, as Minister in the Ministry of Finance, is in charge of all State enterprises. Williams said that Bharath is expected to meet with his counterpart in Jamaica to discuss the matter.
Now, CAL has to repaint its six Air Jamaica planes at a reported cost of US$60,000 per aircraft. Asked whether CAL was already repainting its aircraft, Williams said it will be part of the discussions between the ministers. He admitted that one aircraft, which was already undergoing scheduled maintenance, was already re-touched with CAL’s logo. CAL’s investment in Air Jamaica has already been costly for the Trinidadian airline, reportedly requiring CAL to liquidate US$149 million of its investments already to carry the cost of the ailing Jamaica-based airline.
The government of Air Jamaica owns 16 per cent of CAL, following the consummation of a shareholders’ agreement which was signed on May 26, 2011, and which cost CAL US$50 million to acquire the airline’s routes.Apart from that, former finance minister Winston Dookeran disclosed to Parliament in May that Air Jamaica recorded an unaudited loss of US$38.1 million ($245.2 million) for 2011