Caribbean Airlines buys Air Jamaica

By: Cerone White

On this day in Caribbean history, May 27, 2011, the acquisition of Air Jamaica was completed, making Caribbean Airlines the national airline of Jamaica.

On August 27, 1963, after the government of Jamaica decided not to invest in British West Indian Airways (BWIA) Air Jamaica was founded. During this time period, the employees from BWIA made their way over to the new airline. Air Jamaica was officially established in October of 1968 and began operation on April 1, 1969, flying to Miami and New York. Signed by the Jamaican and Trinidadian Finance Ministers at the time, Air Jamaica became the national airline of Jamaica and also gave the new airline access to all routes previously operated by the former national carrier.

Air Jamaica was known for its bright colors which set it apart from any other airline. The former national carrier slogan was “One Vision, One Caribbean, One Airline” they also had another slogan that said, “Feel it when you fly.” Services on Air Jamaica was said to make you feel like you’re at home when you fly. The company’s focus/major destinations were John F. Kennedy Airport, and Sangster International airport. Their hubs were local on the island of Sangster International airport and the Norman Manly International airport in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Jamaican Lovebird spread its wings for the last time in 2015, coming after years of speculation and talks about privatization of Air Jamaica. This privatization sought to remove an unsustainable venture from its balance sheet. There were talks between the Jamaican government and Trinidad and Tobago contemplating a possible merger or acquisition by Caribbean Airlines, and soon the talk became a reality. On May 1, 2010, Caribbean Airlines acquired Air Jamaica’s fleet of airline’s and opened a new hub at the Norman Manley International Airport.

The Jamaican government holds 16 percent of shares in Caribbean Airlines Limited and did you know that by procuring the name “Caribbean Airlines” it also gave Caribbean Airlines exclusive rights to the Air Jamaica name for one year, with options for annual renewal.

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