Air Jamaica

Air Jamaica is the national airline of Jamaica. One of Jamaica's better known companies, Air Jamaica is one of the few Caribbean Island's major airlines (Cubana and BWIA being the two others).

History

Air Jamaica traces its roots back to April of 1969, when it connected Kingston and Montego Bay, with New York and Miami. Back then, the Jamaican government owned a substantial part of the airline, but Air Canada owned a minor share and provided technical, maintenance and logistical help.


Air Jamaica Airbus A340 (6Y-JMM).


Another view of 6Y-JMM.

During the 1970s, Air Jamaica saw a huge expansion process take place. Flights were added to Toronto and Montreal in Canada, to Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia and many other destinations, specially across the Caribbean. Air Jamaica used the DC-8 plane for a large part of the '70s, but the L-1011 tristar and Boeing 727 jets became a part of the fleet towards the end of the decade, when the government bought over Air Canada's small share.

During the 1980s, the growth slowed somewhat. Nevertheless, new routes were still opened, to Baltimore and Atlanta.

During the 1990s, more expansion came, and Air Jamaica took over the Kingston-Nassau route, which had been left by British Airways. The airline came into a code sharing agreement with Delta Airlines and also opened routes to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix (which was later dropped), and to Frankfurt, London, Manchester Airport, Santo Domingo and Ft. Lauderdale. The route to Phoenix was opened because Air Jamaica was looking for expansion in the American West, beyond it's route to Los Angeles. In 1994 the company was privatized, and later, its owners decided to return 25 percent of the company to the government, giving 5 percent of it to the airline's employees and retaining 70 percent. It started buying Airbus equipment, including the A340 airplane, and it began a feeder service, a frequent flyer program (7th Heaven), and an inflight magazine, named SkyWritings. It also named a new president, Gordon Butch Stewart. The airline also underwent a livery change during that decade.

Current Operations

Air Jamaica has now opened a large operations base in Saint Lucia. Its fleet is comprised of three A310's, ten A320's, three A321's and three A340's, to have a total of 19 Airbus family jets. Its symbol is a yellow bird with skinny wings, (to make them look like a AJ), drawn on a blue and purple colored tail. Their 19 planes fly an average of 9,000 passengers a day.


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