Mary Kirby / Washington DC

Air Jamaica is putting back all of the capacity it slashed after last September's terrorist attacks in the USA, and looking to acquire aircraft to expand international services.

The carrier cut capacity by 20% last year and says that it is now operating at higher capacity levels than before the terrorist attacks. It recently launched services to Boston and Houston, and added frequencies to Curaçao, and hopes to forge a partnership with Continental Airlines at its Houston hub.

Air Jamaica is considering launching services to Dublin in 2003, followed by Frankfurt and then Milan and is looking to acquire a third Airbus A340 to add to the two it recently acquired from International Lease Finance (ILFC). The two A340s will be used to introduce new weekly services from Montego Bay and Kingston to Manchester as well as from Havana to London Heathrow and to boost to daily the carrier's services linking Montego Bay and Heathrow. By 30 May, the carrier will be operating 11 weekly flights to the UK. The service additions fill the void left by British Airways when it exited Montego Bay in January.


"We're looking into more aircraft. We're looking to do a Manchester-Dublin routing," confirms vice-president of marketing Allan Chastenet.

Air Jamaica also operates four Airbus A310s, eight A320s, three A321s and two Boeing MD-83s. The MD-83s will be returned to lessor Ansett Worldwide by April and replaced by two new A320s. The carrier is also trying to phase out its A310s, "which will require additional aircraft", says Chastenet.

Services to Detroit, Denver and San Francisco may also be on the cards, but would require loosening of the US-Jamaica bilateral. Plans for a Montego Bay-Washington Dulles service have been put on hold until next February.

Source: Flight International