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Air Jamaica Pulling Out of Barbados

April 7, 2009
Air Jamaica has annnounced that it will be cutting its Barbados-Jamaica route, part of a larger package of route cuts that are expected to eliminate hundreds of jobs at the struggling air carrier.

Air Jamaica has annnounced that it will be cutting its Barbados-Jamaica route, part of a larger package of route cuts that are expected to eliminate hundreds of jobs at the struggling air carrier.

AIR JAMAICA is making more cuts to its flight schedule to Barbados in less than two weeks.

Executive vice-president of commercial for Air Jamaica Subodh Karnik confirmed that the airline would no longer be flying its New York to Barbados route as of April 20.

This comes less than six weeks after its chief executive officer Bruce Nobles said Air Jamaica would no longer service its route between Barbados and Jamaica from February 26, citing low numbers as a result of the global economic crisis.

At the time, Nobles said the airline would continue its flights between Barbados and New York.

However, yesterday Karnik said passengers had booked elsewhere, but for those who paid and were ticketed by Air Jamaica, they would be offered a refund, or the airline would attempt to rebook them on American Airlines (AA) via John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, or Miami International Airport.

“The reason why we decided on April 20, after Easter, was because our advance bookings were very very low – probably the lowest in our time – we can say single digits for April, May and June, so it is something that action had to be taken,” he said.

Without confirmation from his agents, he believed that there would be no problem re-booking on AA because of low numbers.

He said Air Jamaica would continue an ongoing review of its status to see if it might resume its flights to Barbados, “but we have no intention of saying that in a X number of months, if the economy reaches a state, that we will.”

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy stated earlier this year that Air Jamaica’s stoppage of flights from Barbados to Grenada was a setback, but said plans were in place to counteract any possible fallout.

But with this new twist, he would comment on the matter at a later date.

One passenger, who requested anonymity, said he had booked a ticket on Air Jamaica to travel from New York to Barbados on April 23, for one week.

He said his flight was canceled but the airline promised a full refund.

President of the Travel Agents Association of Barbados, Ann Sealy, said the airline “would be missed, but not in a large way because its frequency was not great”.

“The scheduled times out of New York were not the most favorable. As a result, they were not frequently the first option unless you were a frequent flyer, or a person who preferred Air Jamaica.

“Unlike, say American Airlines, that has a daily schedule, if that was to go, of course it would have a major impact. I don’t think the loads on Air Jamaica out of here were very healthy, which is the reason behind them having to pull out all together.

“They were losing quite a bit of money on the Barbados route,” she said.

Source: nationnews.com

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