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Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Spirit of Jamaica

After months of searching, proposals, negotiations it has finally happened. The pride of the Jamaican skies, the cash strapped Air Jamaica has been sold. Yes, the national airline of Jamaica has been sold as with most of the things owned by Jamaica, JPS, Carib Cement, several beaches, etc. But who was brave enough to by an airline that has been in the red for as long as I can remember?

According to The Gleaner, Air Jamaica has been bought by one of its newer competitors, Spirit Airlines, which entered the Jamaican market in recent years. It seems Spirit, led by Indigo Partners LLC and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LLC, won the bid over the Trinidad owned Caribbean Airlines to become the new owner of the Jamaican national airline. The sale of Air Jamaica has now signaled the end of Air Jamaica and the end of the era of the country having its own national carrier, as the name will now be changed to Spirit of Jamaica.

No doubt this acquisition of Air Jamaica, will mean more than just a name change to Spirit of Jamaica. No doubt Spirit will be implementing it's practices and method of operations on this new airline. It will impose policies that it feels are in its best interest as a company to survive. These could include the cutting of meals from flights, charging for snacks and separate fees for luggage, changes in routes, to name a few. The sale of the airline will also have an impact on the staff of the former Air Jamaica, as some will loose their jobs as with any merger or acquisition.

As mentioned before, this is yet just one more Jamaican, owned company to be sold to an overseas company. In this case however, the government was being told to sell this company due to it's constant loss and heavy debt. The divestment of Air Jamaica and privatization of Air Jamaica was seen by many as a good move and a way for the government to get rid of some of its debts. Good move or not, one thing is for sure, we have lost our national airline, one more of the few things Jamaican.


PS: I have included a poll at the bottom of the page.

12 commented:

Yes, it is full time that the government unloaded/got rid of Air Jamaica.It was like throwing away money which could be utilized for other aspects of Jamaica's economic and social development down the proverbial black hole.Throwing good money after bad money, as was continually/constantly being done over the years by respective governments,to shore up a beleaguered and ailing airline,is/was surely not the answer to Air Jamaica's myriad problems,especially, after perennially not making a profit. Undoubtedly, selling it is/was the right thing to do with respect to economics.Spirit Airlines most likely will do a significantly better job managing Air Jamaica than we did. Also,the new name, Spirit of Jamaica does not sound bad, it definitely has a nice ring to it re marketing.

Well, can't say I am surprised. The irony is not lost on me of course. AJ has been bleeding money left right and center making it a doodoo stock that is now owned by the bottom feeder of airlines. I took Spirit once several years ago and have vowed not to travel on it again, no matter how low the fares go. The bathrooms didn't work so the whole plane smelled like a latrine, several seats were broken, and the flight attendants had equally putrid attitudes. I was never so glad to get to mobay in my life! So now, I have one less choice of what to fly.

There's a pattern here, of course. Those who are put in charge of managing national assets aren't exactly experts at doing so, and so they run everything doing into the ground to the extent that the govt has no choice but to take what it can get from shark-like companies who wait for exactly the right level of desperation before they pounce. That's why we are often stuck dealing with companies that have shoddy fiscal records and questionnable business practices. But in truth, we don't need a national airline. We need a national railway system!!!

Yes, Longbench,we do not need a national airline we need a national railway system. I concur totally with that view regarding a railway system.Never been on Spirit Airlines, but if the service is terrible as described by you, they will not be around for too long, irrespective of the fares.Hopefully, their service has improved since the last time you were a patron.

I don't understand why the only option was to sell?
Whatever happened to changing practicies, studying the market, and turning the business around?

Sad isn't it? but when you look at, if globalization does eventually coem on stream, identity as a country would be lost either way.

I heard they started importing

@ Tami
I saw a bit about the patties on CIN and wound up confused. Where in the heck are the patties coming from? To me, patties can only come from Jamaica! I understand they are being sold in the states also, even in my fave supermarket. But I've never spotted the brand in question. The owner even said the patties aren't doing well in Jamaica because patties there are quite good! LOL, if you see the patties, they just look so dry and unpalatable

Here comes the messy planes and patty pan bus mode of operation that Spirit is known for...I am saddened:(

It is hard to know that the pride of our sky, our national airline is being sold, but considering the amount of tax payer money that is being pumped into it, it only makes sense to sell it.

As for the imported patties, I was going to post about it, but that post would only consist of expletives punctuated by a few words. This government is a joke, they are not serious about making Jamaica better. Imported snacks, imported water and now imported patties, no wonder why we are doomed.

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Thank God Jet Blue is now going from New York to MoBay...and will be going to Kingston in the Fall. Spirit by any other name is still Spirit, and one has to wonder what kind of cost cutting an airline does to afford to offer $9 seats.