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Gov't yet to get official word on Air J brand decision

BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor — special assignment browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012    

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GOVERNMENT is yet to be officially informed about the decision to remove the Air Jamaica logo from Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) planes, days after reports that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Trinidad had instructed the airline to drop the Air Jamaica brand.

"Cabinet has not been notified formally and we have not seen any reports, so I would not want to comment on that," Information Minister Sandrea Falconer told journalists at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston yesterday.

"When I speak with the [Government] member of the board I will let you know; but we can't just comment on a newspaper report because Cabinet has not been formally advised," she said.

The Trinidad-based Sunday Express reported earlier this week that the directive was given because the use of the Air Jamaica brand did not comply with CAL's airline operator's certificate.

CAL, the article said, is not licensed to operate two brands, despite doing so for over a year, following its acquisition of Air Jamaica routes. It said for CAL to use the Air Jamaica brand, it would have to register a new airline in the name of Air Jamaica.

The article said CAL was alerted about the disparity by the CAA a few months ago, as it sought to improve its systems ahead of a planned audit by the International Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

In the short term, the onus is on CAL to repaint Air Jamaica's six planes at a cost of US$60,000 per aircraft.

CAL's head of Corporate Communications Clint Williams had confirmed that CAL had received recommendations from CAA and that these had been passed to its new line minister, who is in charge of all state enterprises.

Williams said the line minister was expected to meet with his counterpart in Jamaica to discuss the matter.

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