Air Jamaica continues fleet and route cuts

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State-owned Air Jamaica will exit six markets and shed three Airbus aircraft by April - the latest adjustment since the Jamaican government put the flag carrier up for sale in 2008.

Air Jamaica will begin its network realignment on 9 March with the discontinuation of New York JFK-Grenada and Montego Bay-Orlando, Florida flights.

The carrier will shutter its Montego Bay-Orlando service after JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways inaugurate service on that route on 8 February and 11 February, respectively. While Air Jamaica chief executive officer Bruce Nobles was not immediately available to comment, he told ATI last year that there was not enough demand to support additional carriers launching flights between Orlando and Montego Bay.

On 12 April, Air Jamaica will cease service from Montego Bay to Chicago, Curacao and Havana, as well as flights from Kingston to Havana and Nassau.

The planned reductions mark the carrier's second realignment since Nobles joined Air Jamaica in 2008.

Last year the airline dropped six markets and cut its fleet to nine aircraft, resulting in a revised schedule of 218 weekly flights to 14 destinations effective 26 February 2009.

Following the latest cuts, the airline's network will consist of five international destinations and 161 weekly flights. Air Jamaica will operate four daily flights to Fort Lauderdale, three daily flights to New York and daily service to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Toronto.

The network contraction comes as Air Jamaica will shrink its fleet to six aircraft by April: one Airbus A319, one A321 and four A320s.

"This fleet reduction has become necessary as we seek to meet our financial obligations, however Air Jamaica continues to be the best choice for convenient schedule and excellent service as we have ensured that adequate capacity is provided on our core routes", Nobles says in a statement.