JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator email@example.com
AIR cargo carrier Exec Direct Aviation (EDA) is awaiting approval to expand into the transportation of dangerous goods (DG).
EDA, which claims to be Jamaica's first all-cargo airline, has applied with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority to ship DGs, which include materials that are radioactive, explosive or flammable.
If all goes well, approval should be granted by mid- August, said EDA chief operating officer Kamal Clarke, noting that the initiative is one of several expansion plans the airline has for its second year of operations — which began on July 6.
"We also hope to add other destinations in our second year and hopefully increase the number of flights to the US," said Clarke.
Clarke said the airline had a commendable performance in its first year of operation, surviving various challenges and expanding the number of routes in which it offers airfreight services to and from Jamaica.
"The first year was very challenging, but with our hard- working staff, we were determined to succeed and we are very grateful to the companies, businesses and individuals who put their confidence in us during our first year and helped us to survive and expand our services," said the EDA chief operating officer.
EDA operates a Saab A340 aircraft with a four-ton (8,000 lbs) cargo capacity. It has established itself as a viable airfreight service between Kingston and Miami, as well as other destinations in the Caribbean.
The cargo carrier now operates twice-weekly flights from Miami International Airport to Owen Roberts International in Grand Cayman, and into Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport. On-demand flights are run into Montego Bay, Nassau, Bahamas, and Curacao. The airline also offers charter flights to other destinations in the Northern Caribbean and Central America.
ShipMe, an online shopping, package and mail forwarding service started by EDA in November 2011, has contributed significantly to the survival of the airline company, said Clarke. He argued that ShipMe offers faster and more efficient delivery of purchases, since EDA has more frequent flights to the US and can easily handle increases in demand.
"We have seen a steady increase in the number of members who have registered for ShipMe and the amount of packages being shipped, and as word spreads about this wonderful product and we continue with our promotions, further and faster growth is expected," Clarke said.
However, Clarke added that EDA is still a way off from operating at its full capacity.
"I am appealing for more support from Jamaican companies and businesses, who export and import goods, to airfreight their cargo with us. As a Jamaican-owned air-cargo operation we want to meet the needs of our clients and help them expand their businesses as well, " he said.