Photo By Levar Gardon http://visual-embrace.com/
So as of the eve of April 30, 2010 the pride of the Jamaican sky, the Lovebird, the Jamaican national airline, Air Jamaica is no more. The government of Jamaica has once again succeeded in selling off another piece of Jamaica, another product of this country which defined it's individuality. I admit it has been a burden on the pockets of tax payers, but it is sad to see an icon of Jamaican nationalism go, and not just phased out but to be turned over into the hands of another country just as so many other local companies.
However I will not sit and lament on the shortcomings of the ones who instead of leading the country, are merely running it to the ground with their selfish, corrupt practices. Instead I will say a farewell to our national carrier and reminisce on the days when Jamaica had it's own pride in the sky, it's own name in the skies, it's own national airline. It was not always smooth going traveling with Air Jamaica, but it was our national carrier and as a somewhat patriotic Jamaican I always opted to fly Air Jamaica... even though most of the time it resulted in my cursing and ranting on my blog about their never ending delays (here, here, and here). Nevertheless, it had a great safety track record compared to other airlines, and that was a big encouragement to endure the lengthy delays that the average Air Jamaica customer had to endure. I will never forget though the in-flight meals which I enjoyed, maybe because I was so famished after their customary delays, the free headsets for the in-flight music and movies and of course the complementary champagne they used to offer... which they always mix with orange juice at my request.
Despite the protest of many Jamaicans, staff members and even the attempt of a pilot and staff conglomerate to buy the airline, it is now official that Caribbean Airlines has purchased our national carrier and Air Jamaica shall be no more. Within six months it will only be a faint memory and be replaced by the name and colours of the Trinidad based Caribbean Airlines. The employees of the former Air Jamaica have received their redundancy cheque, including a former coworker who left my department at what was Cable and Wireless Jamaica (now LIME) to work at Air Jamaica. I saw him at Mega Mart on Saturday and could only welcome him to the Unemployed Club and wish him all the best. My like hate relationship with Air Jamaica has come to an end. So I guess this is my farewell to the national carrier of the island of Jamaica, my farewell to Air Jamaica. Good by Air Jamaica, you will always be in our memories and in the hearts of so many Jamaicans here in Jamaica and abroad.