RED CARPETS on the tarmac, on board fashion shows by cabin crew and Mumm's Cordon Rouge champagne in economy class, are the ploys, which the new Air Jamaica intends to use to woo the UK traveler, when the carrier re-introduces a London-Montego Bay-Kingston link on 30 March, after an absence of ten years.

The three weekly flights will be operated with its newly delivered Airbus A310-300s, fitted out with 18 fully reclining business-class sleeperettes at 1.52m seat pitch and 180 economy-seats at 810mm pitch.

Air Jamaica hopes to add a fourth flight in the peak northern summer season and a fifth for the winter schedule, provided that it can obtain suitable slots at London's Heathrow Airport.

Under the UK/Jamaica bilateral, Air Jamaica is allowed to fly from Prestwick, Scotland, but it wants to change its second point of entry to Manchester. Talks between the two Governments have broken down, but are expected to resume soon.

The airline is discussing a code-share with British Midland to attract passengers to the new service from other parts of Europe. This is one element in an intensive European marketing campaign, says vice-president for marketing William Rogers. Its own direct schedules from Frankfurt, Milan, Zurich and Paris to Jamaica could be introduced in 1997/8.

The "new" Air Jamaica was privatised on 15 November, 1994, with 70% of the shares owned by a group of Jamaican businessmen, headed by chairman Gordon "Butch" Stewart. Over the next eight months, its fleet of five Airbus A300s and four Boeing 727-200s, will be replaced by six new A310-300s and six A320-200s.

Source: Flight International