Fly Jamaica has pushed back the commencement of its Toronto service owing to non-completion of the certification and paperwork by the Jamaican authorities, reported Commercial Director Roxanne Reece yesterday.
The airline will now commence its Toronto service sometime in mid-November, said Reece. She attributed the postponement to delays in the certification by a number of agencies. The service between Georgetown and Toronto was to have commenced yesterday.
Further, Fly Jamaica has appealed the US authorities’ decision to deny direct flights between Guyana and New York to the start-up airline and is calling on Guyanese locally and abroad to sign a petition calling on the authorities to grant permission for this.
The airline, owned by Guyanese and Jamaican investors, commenced a one-stop flight to New York two weeks ago and had wanted to graduate this to a non-stop service.
However, the US aviation authorities denied Fly Jamaica’s request for direct flights.
“We have appealed…we don’t know what will happen…we don’t know if they will reopen the case,” said Reece yesterday during an informal session with reporters. She said that should about 200,000 signatures be garnered these will be taken to officials in the United States Congress with a view to nudging the authorities in the direction of approving the direct flights. Reece made the point that during the winter months in the US, many persons advanced in age return to the country of their birth. She said that some of them may be wheelchair-bound and would be better suited to direct flights to and from Guyana.
She said that during the application process, the airline made the point that Delta had ceased operations between Georgetown and New York in May this year and that this left no option for direct flights northbound on the route.
Reece said that because of the stringent post-9/11 regulations, all passengers to the United States must disembark the aircraft and be screened by security at the port prior to that of the US – in this case Kingston, Jamaica.
Asked about passenger loads since the launch of the airline in Guyana two Thursdays ago, Reece said that the loads are improving. Asked about the percentage of those passenger loads, she declined to provide that information.
The airline now operates on all its routes with its own Boeing 757. However, Fly Jamaica is in the process of purchasing a Boeing 767 as it seeks to expand its seats. She said that the aircraft has been identified but the process to make it ready for commercial airline operations is a long one and it is on-going.
With regards to ticket prices, Reece said that Fly Jamaica’s seat prices are based on the dynamics of the market and that the earlier one makes a purchase the better.
Reece said that the airline is banking on selling Guyana and wants to encourage the travelling Guyanese public to purchase tickets and see Jamaica in a way they have not seen before.
Travelling to Jamaica before the commencement of Fly Jamaica was a tedious task, one encompassing up to 15 hours and four or five stops in between.