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Safety our main concern, says Fly Jamaica

Company also knocks Observer report of resignations

Sunday, July 20, 2014    

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THE directors of Fly Jamaica Airways have rubbished a report in Friday's Daily Observer, saying that delays are not unusual to the airline industry and that the company is not rocked by resignations.

Insisting that the safety of their passengers and crew is their top priority, Captain Paul Reece, chairman and CEO; his wife Roxanne Reece, a director; and Captain Patrick Cousins, also a director, said the information in the Observer story was wrong.

"No one in this company must have any apprehension or any thought that we're flying an aeroplane that is not safe. So that's why we have a maintenance delay," Captain Reece said in response to the report of a number of delays experienced by the airline in recent weeks.

"If we have a light go on in the cockpit, we are not going to fly with it. We have to be safe. No one must say that any of our pilots or engineers let the plane take off with a fault," Captain Reece insisted.

"So when we have a delay, and we say we're grounded for maintenance, we are grounded for maintenance, because we want to fix it so when we fly, the aeroplane is safe," he added.

Yesterday, in a news release, the company noted that in the airline industry passenger safety requires that pilots and engineers are trained not to allow any aircraft to be operated with any malfunction.

"Therefore, when there is any indication of any abnormal situation, the aircraft will be grounded and thoroughly checked and repaired to ensure the safety of the travelling public. This is the reason airlines maintain such a high safety record," the company said in its news release.

"All of our passengers whose travel plans were recently disrupted as a result of our irregular operation for a period of two days were contacted, were re-accommodated in hotels, and travelled to their final destination on other airlines at the expense of Fly Jamaica Airways," the company added.

To emphasise his point that delays are occupational hazards of the industry, Reece related his experience of travelling from Los Angeles to Miami on an American carrier which was delayed for 12 hours.

"This happens to any airline, and you have to take these things in stride. It's a standard thing in the industry," Captain Reece said.

Captain Cousins noted that Fly Jamaica is being overseen for safety by both the Federal Aviation Authority and Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority because the company has an American-registered aeroplane.

"We have two authorities continuously monitoring us for safety, so we have to ensure all safety standards are met," Captain Cousins said.

In relation to the resignations reported by the Observer, Mrs Reece said that Captain Lloyd Tai and Christine Steele, who were both directors of the airline, resigned as directors after their contracts had expired.

"Captain Lloyd Tai, who had recently retired, and had formed his own aviation consultancy firm, had kindly agreed to provide our newly formed airline with two years of his expertise in order to assist Fly Jamaica Airways achieve its start-up objectives. His contract expired and he has returned to his private consultancy," the company reiterated in its news release yesterday.

"Two other Jamaicans, Mrs Christine Steele and Ms Shaun Lawson-Laing, were added to the board of directors in 2011. Captain Tai and Mrs Christine Steele resigned in January 2014," the airline added.

"Professor Hilton McDavid and Captain Patrick Cousins have replaced Mrs Christine Steele and Captain Lloyd Tai on the board of directors of Fly Jamaica Airways," the release said.

The airline also said that Nadine Silvera, who was reported to have been a founding member of the airline, resigned from the company last year.

Pointing out that the airline has 20 managers worldwide, Mrs Reece said "for the three years that we've been operational, one manager has resigned and one we had to let go and only two directors have left, so I think that is a good ratio."

She added: "We don't have loads of resignations. We have such good staff here."

In its release yesterday, the airline said it has been "back on schedule since Tuesday, July 15, 2014, and we take this opportunity to reassure the travel agents and the travelling public that we shall continue to operate for many more years to come. Our objectives have always been, and remain, the safety and security of our passengers".

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