Jamaica welcomed its newest Air Carrier to the Jamaican ‘airscape’ on Wednesday, January 16 with the launch of Fly Jamaica.

Amidst a party atmosphere at the Devonshire Restaurant, Devon House, airline executives and other stakeholders gathered together and endorsed the arrival of the new carrier. The airline which will make its first official flight to the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on January 25, 2013 has satisfied all the requirements to obtain its flying certificate. According to Colonel Oscar Derby, Head of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), this is the first time the JCAA has granted a full certificate to a large carrier and that it took only twelve months for the airline to obtain same compared to the more regular period of between two and three years that it takes in the USA.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Transport, Works & Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies said that the launch of Fly Jamaica was “a demonstration of persons with a vision and confidence in the future of the country, who are taking action, rather than lamenting.”

Continuing, the minister said, “I am very pleased at this evidence of regional co-operation. In too many cases, our discussions about regional integration can be seen as ‘pie in the sky’. I have always maintained that there are enough substantive issues on which the region can co-operate but seldom do we focus attention on, and seek to develop them.”

In speaking to the involvement of the private sector, Minister Davies said that he was very pleased that the initiative is totally private sector driven with no ‘demand/request/hope for Government of Jamaica involvement’. He highlighted Government’s role which he said was totally from a regulatory standpoint.

He described the initiative as an example which demonstrates how countries such as Jamaica can develop based on the initiatives of its own citizens. “Already, FLY JAMAICA is employing 80 persons. However, I have no doubt that in short order there will be growth which will lead to greater employment in all the various aspects of airline industry,” he added.

Also speaking at the launch were several of the partners involved in the start-up of the airline; these included representatives from WISYNCO, NCB Capital Markets, J Wray & Nephew and Select Brands. Captain Lloyd Tai, Captain Reece and Christene Steele also gave their blessings to the newly launched airline