Air Jamaica's transition to Caribbean starts next month

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Air Jamaica plans to start transitioning its operations to Caribbean Airlines on 12 April ahead of the sale of Air Jamaica to Trinidad's and Tobago's flag carrier.

The Jamaican government has been negotiating a sale exclusively with Caribbean since January after negotiators failed to reach an agreement with US investment firms Indigo Partners and Oaktree Capital.

Last month the Jamaican government said it did not intend to provide financial support to Air Jamaica after its current fiscal year ends in March. The government has been trying to re-privatise Air Jamaica since 2008.

As the Jamaican government works to close the transaction with Caribbean, Air Jamaica CEO Bruce Nobles has advised employees that the carrier's staff will be made redundant when the deal is completed.

But some staff could be re-hired on a contract basis for a period of time to ensure a seamless transition of Air Jamaica's operations to Caribbean, says Nobles.

Air Jamaica has been slowly cutting aircraft and routes since the government undertook its efforts to re-privatise the carrier. As of 12 April it will operate six aircraft -- one Airbus A319, one A321 and four A320s. This month the carrier is cutting flights from New York JFK-Grenada and Montego Bay-Orlando, Florida, followed by the elimination of flights from Montego Bay to Chicago, Curacao and Havana in April. Air Jamaica's flights from Kingston to Havana and Nassau also end in April.

Following these cuts, the airline's network will consist of five international destinations: Fort Lauderdale, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Toronto.