Air Jamaica Suspend Flights To The Bahamas

AIR Jamaica is to discontinue flights to the Bahamas, forcing Bahamians to travel through the United States to get to the wider Caribbean.

The route cuts come in the wake of key changes aimed at stabilising the cash-strapped national carrier.

The Jamaican government is proceeding with plans to hand over operations of the airline to Caribbean Airlines after reportedly signing a non-binding letter of intent last week.

"This fleet reduction has become necessary as we seek to meet our financial obligations, however, Air Jamaica continues to be the best choice for convenient schedule and excellent service as we have ensured that adequate capacity is provided on our core routes," said Bruce Nobles, Air Jamaica's president and chief executive officer.

Routes to be suspended as of March 9 are New York (JFK) to Grenada and Jamaica to Orlando. Routes to be suspended as of April 12 are Jamaica to Chicago, Jamaica to Curaçao, Jamaica to Havana and Jamaica to Nassau.

Last night the move was criticised by Fred Mitchell, the Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, who said not all Bahamians will be able to obtain US visas to facilitate stop-overs in Miami or other transit destinations to Jamaica.

Mr Mitchell said he is concerned that travel to other Caribbean countries will be restricted for some Bahamians unless other locally-based airlines add the Jamaica route to their service.

"The fact is people will not be able to move from here to the Caribbean, which presents a problem for a lot of people because they cannot get US visas," he said.

Mr Mitchell said it will be interesting to see if any smaller airlines in the Bahamas might be interested in picking up the route.

Source: The Tribune