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BITU knocks Government's silence on Caribbean Airlines

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012    

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PRESIDENT of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) Senator Kavan Gayle says that the union is concerned about the Government's prolonged silence on issues to do with Caribbean Airlines (CAL).

"Since this new administration has taken over, too may things have happened with regards to the merger of CAL and Air Jamaica which are not in Jamaica's best interest, yet the government has not made a single statement on any of these developments in six months," Gayle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

He was responding to the reports in Port-of-Spain that the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has instructed CAL to drop its Air Jamaica brand from its aircraft. The Sunday Express newspaper reported that it understands that the use of the Air Jamaica brand does not comply with CAL's airline operator certificate.

"Despite the acquisition of AJ routes, CAL is not licensed to operate two brands but has been doing so for over a year. For CAL to use the AJ brand, it will have to register a new airline in the name of Air Jamaica," the Sunday Express claimed.

But according to Gayle, it is unfair that Jamaican stakeholders have to be reading about these developments in the Trinidadian press without any confirmation or denial coming from the Jamaican Ministry of Transport.

"It appears that they have taken a hands-off position," he commented.

The BITU represents flight attendants working the Air Jamaica brand, while the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association, which represents the airline's pilots, is an affiliate of the union.

CAL, the Sunday Express reported, was alerted about this disparity by CAA a few months ago as it sought to improve its systems ahead of a planned audit by the international Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

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