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New Jamaican airline to take flight in 2021

Jamaica will once more have its own airline in 2021 if things go according to plan.

chairman of Oriole, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba (Photo: cokcu.com)

This according to the group behind Oriole Limited, a low cost airline venture expected to provide domestic and regional service beginning in March next year.

The airline, backed by a Jamaican and European consortium, was launched in New Kingston on Thursday, January 30. Noting that several airlines, including Air Jamaica and Fly Jamaica, have failed to sustain services on the island, Oriole Chairman Aloun Ndombet-Assamba said it is the time for a “new bold vision” for Jamaican aviation.

“If we are going to be people airline, then they ought to have access, you have to ensure that control rests with the nationals”

— Chief Executive Officer, Oriole Keith Kerr

The airline’s chief executive officer, Keith Kerr, said “This initiative has been in gestation for a significant amount of time; it’s been researched, stress-tested, and always come through in flying colours. I have been researching for some time and had knowledge of this particular market.”

Kerr added, “The Jamaican market is booming and is ripe with the right proposition to have great success. Starting an airline is perceived to be difficult, as starting an airline in this country is started by people who are passionate flyers rather than people who are passionate business people. Jamaica needs infrastructure and there is an opportunity to derive significant profits from that if it’s done properly. The problem with prior operators is that they have always started undercapitalised.”

Ndombet-Assamba said Jamaica has been a “graveyard for airlines” including Fly Jamaica.

The company is more than 80 per cent funded so far with an initial public offering planned in the early stages to allow Jamaicans a chance to invest.

“If we are going to be people airline, then they ought to have access, you have to ensure that control rests with the nationals,” Kerr said at the launch.

Oriole’s will include trips to Barbados, Curacao, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago,