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The end of an Era: Goodbye Air Jamaica

04/30/10

Permalink 06:01:52 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Business, Commentary, News

The end of an Era: Goodbye Air Jamaica

For 41 years Jamaica has been served by Air Jamaica "the little piece of Jamaica that flies". It has served as a source of pride for all Jamaicans as it has been known for its excellent (though not always on time) service, excellent pilots, excellent staff... It was just overall the best airline in the world as far as Jamaicans were concerned. Apparently we weren't the only ones who thought so however as for 12 years in a row (1998-2009) Air Jamaica has won the award for Best Airline to the Caribbean, it has also won Best Caribbean Business class for 2006-2007 and also won an award for Best Caribbean Airline Website (World Travel Awards). With all these awards and critical acclaims one has to wonder how it is that this airline has been completely broke for such a long time. But Alas this post is not about that. Its about the fact that as of Today Air Jamaica shall be no more, as the government sells off all its assets to Caribbean Airlines.

For most Jamaicans (me included), Air Travel will seem quite foreign without Air Jamaica as it is the main airline that we have known for most of our lives. I could probably count the amount of other airlines I've been on, but for Air Jamaica I'd definitely need to look in a passport. So yes even though many Jamaicans (and even Trinidadians) have been opposed to the sale and especially the method used in the sale the government has gone forward and signed away the jobs of 1500 Jamaicans.

My first memory of Air Jamaica is of the Orange, Yellow and White planes that they used to fly. I cant remember exactly what type of planes they had then, but I am pretty sure the type of aircraft was more diverse as I do remember flying on a Boeing, and also a DC...9 I think. I was a little too young to remember what was going on, but the one constant that remained was the entire airline crew always had a bright welcoming smile on their face which certainly made you want to fly. Also interesting to add is that in these days I could go up front and view inside of the cockpit. Children of today will probably not know of this experience with all the anti-terrorist rules around, but on a number of occassions I went up to the cockpit and said hi to the captains and marveled at the large cluster of buttons, knobs, switches and screens that the pilot had to use to fly. But Alas, those were the old days.

Air Jamaica Old

The next step for Air Jamaica was after the take over by Gordon "Butch" Stewart. During this time the entire colour scheme of the airline changed. No longer would the colours only be Orange and Yellow, but now it included Blue, Purple and Pink, this carried over into the uniforms as well which became a somewhat confusing array of the company colours which at first might have been disorienting to look at, but quickly became pleasant to the eyes. Also to change was the service as the service became even better than it was previously with the inclusion of an in flight chef (for longer flights), and also champagne service to all its customers. The viability of this service is up to debate of course becase this definitely came at a great expense, but this didn't stop the airline from offering 5 star meals in the air.

New Air Jamaica

The next step for Air Jamaica was when Butch Stewart sold the company back to the Jamaican government along with the massive debts which the airline had incurred over the years. This was when calls first came for the airline to be sold by the people of Jamaica as the cash strapped airline became a part of Jamaica's already tight pockets. However the company kept going, and new management was called in on multiple occassions to try to stem the rapid wasting of money that was taking place. Things like in flight meals were cut excepting first/business class passengers. The number of bags allowed on the plane was also cut, the number of routes was the next thing that got cut and even the paint scheme on planes got cut because it was expensive to maintain such a colourful scheme.

Newest Air Jamaica Livery

Finally and I guess one can say inevitably, the airline would be sold as has been done this year, after years of trying to find suitable purchasers for the airline. Trinidad - the caribbean island who already owns so much of Jamaica - stepped up and decided that it wanted this piece of Jamaica too. And Who can blame them, the Airline with its flawless safety record (0 crashes), expert pilots and most excellent service was bound to be a good deal, even though we aren't really clear as to how much the airline was sold for ourselves.

However this article serves as a farewell to Air Jamaica, we will certainly miss you as you have been an excellent representative of Jamaica. Hopefully in the future somebody will take back the name and restart our record of being the best at everything we do. But until then... Salute to you Air Jamaica, you certainly were something special in the air.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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