PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has been instructed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to drop its Air Jamaica branding from its aircrafts.
According to reports, CAL has been informed that the use of the Air Jamaica brand does not comply with CAL’s airline operator certificate and, despite the acquisition of Air Jamaica’s routes, CAL is not licensed to operate the two brands, although it has been doing so for over a year.
It is understood that for CAL to use the Air Jamaica brand, it would have to register a new airline in the name of Air Jamaica.
However, although CAL is now racing to comply, reports are that this is not a new development as the CAA notified the Trinidadian airline of the disparity a few months ago as it sought to improve its systems ahead of a planned audit by the international Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
CAL’s head of Corporate Communications, Clint Williams, confirmed that CAL had received recommendations from CAA which had been passed to its new line minister, Vasant Bharath. As Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Bharath is in charge of all State enterprises.
Williams said that Bharath is expected to meet with his counterpart in Jamaica to discuss the matter.
CAL now has to repaint its six Air Jamaica planes at a reported cost of US$60,000 per aircraft.
When asked whether CAL was already repainting its aircrafts, Williams said it will be part of the discussions between the ministers. He said that one Air Jamaica aircraft, which was already undergoing scheduled maintenance, had been retouched with CAL’s logo.
CAL’s investment in Air Jamaica has been costly for the Trinidad & Tobago-owned airline, reportedly requiring CAL to liquidate US$149-million of its investments to carry the cost of the strained Jamaica-based airline.
The government of Air Jamaica owns 16 per cent of CAL, following the consummation of a shareholders’ agreement which was signed on May 26, 2011 and which cost CAL US$50-million to acquire the airline’s routes.
On top of all that, former finance minister, Winston Dookeran, disclosed to Parliament in May that Air Jamaica recorded an unaudited loss of US$38.1-million for 2011.