Days before the deadline for a notice of closure of one of the largest aviation mergers in the Caribbean, Caribbean Airlines has finalized its acquisition of Air Jamaica.
The deal was made official at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Clair, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran and Jamaica's Finance Minister Audley Shaw signed the agreement, which was witnessed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, and Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner.
The Government of Jamaica will now have a 16-percent stake in the Trinidadian airline and a member appointed to the Caribbean Airlines Board of Directors. Shaw indicated that the outgoing chairman of Air Jamaica, Dennis Lalor O.J., has been nominated by the Jamaican government as a candidate to be the Jamaican representative on the Caribbean Airlines board.
Shaw noted from all reports he had seen, Air Jamaica was being managed much better. He stated that he has also seen a significant improvement to the Air Jamaica operations in the past months which gives further encouragement that moving forward, the merger will be a success.
Caribbean Airlines has been actively integrating its operations with Air Jamaica in the past year with an accelerated integration program since December 2010 being implemented.
At the end of April, the airline gave permanent Caribbean Airlines contracts to more than five hundred Air Jamaica workers as the airline continues its integration strategy of “one airline, two brands.”
The full integration, which includes an all-Boeing fleet servicing both the Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica brand, is expected before the end of the year.