CAL to cut back on Jamaica flights

(Trinidad Express) KINGSTON Head of Communications at Caribbean Airlines, Clint Williams. has confirmed reports that the airline will be cutting back on the number of flights to Jamaica.

For several weeks it was rumoured that flights to Jamaica would be reduced and on Tuesday during a sitting of Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee, Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies, told the committee that no information was forthcoming from Caribbean Airlines.

However, Williams told Radio Jamaica in an interview on Wednesday that the decision had been made to reduce the flights and this becomes effective April 16.

He stated that it was made based on the travel patterns observed, and as part of the move for the airline to become more efficient.

“You will see that the schedule which comes in effect April 16 reflects a reduction in some flights where we saw that there was excess capacity in the load factors. We are not high now, we will consolidate it to one where there will be a higher load factor,” Williams said.

He said some of the scaling back had already started.

“We have reduced frequencies on a number of routes where we see that there was excess capacity, where loads were not as full,” he said.

Caribbean Airlines, which began operations in 2007, acquired Air Jamaica in 2011. The Jamaican Government has a 16 per cent stake in the Trinidadian air carrier.

Meanwhile, the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has raised concern about the reduction in flights.

Spokesman on Transport, Karl Samuda, said the decision is contrary to the deal which was reached for the airline to acquire Air Jamaica.

“At the time of the divestment we certainly did it on that basis and had the clear understanding that not only would Caribbean Airlines continue to service, but hopefully in the near future expand the number of flights to Jamaica and from Jamaica. To hear now that they are cutting back, in addition to being disappointing, may well indicate the extent to which the airline is under financial pressure,” Samuda said.

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