Air Jamaica plans concern unions
Union members that work for Air Jamaica, the government-owned passenger and cargo carrier that lost more than US$100 million in 2006, are calling for more input and a clear vision of the future for the airline before the government decides how the company should move forward.
Union officials from the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union and the affiliated Jamaica Airline Pilots Association said in hearings before a select parliamentary committee looking into the future of the airline said they are concerned about future strategies, but have not had access to management proposals being advanced with the government, a report in the Jamaica Observer said.
BITU president Rudy Spencer said the government needs to decide if Air Jamaica should be a tourist-orient airline or an international airline. He said that if the primary goal is to serve the tourist industry, the airline should be place under the Ministry of Tourism. But if the goal is to make Air Jamaica an international carrier, there would be a need for a more elaborate strategy.
Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Omar Davies, who is heading up the select committee, said the government has received a 'menu of proposals' from Air Jamaica management, but there is not yet a business plan in place.
He noted the airline has suffered serious losses since in was taken over by the government in 2005, and said the government's main concern at this point is how it can control the losses. He said labor and management would have to work together to improve the carrier's financial situation.