Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Fly Jamaica weighs tripling fleet, going public

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Fly Jamaica Airways will consider listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) in order to finance the cost of acquiring four additional aircraft, according to Chief Executive Officer Captain Paul Ronald Reece.

The airline requires these aircraft in order to maintain its viability and expand. Fly Jamaica currently operates two aircraft. The company, founded in 2011, started operations on February 14, 2013.

"For Fly Jamaica to expand and increase our market share, we need to acquire four more aircraft immediately so that we can offer services to short market to Florida, and to continue being reliable on the long haul," he said on Wednesday at the JSE Capital Markets Conference.

Reece added, when asked about the timeline for acquiring these aircraft: "We are looking for financing at this time and looking at the possibility of joining the stock exchange to raise capital".

Airlines across the Caribbean have a tradition of emerging or receiving government support. Therefore it was unheard of, in the mind of bankers, that a man from the region can start and maintain an airline, Reece said in recollecting conversations with bankers about backing his operation.

Despite the need for investment, and the dominance of Caribbean travel by US carriers, he said he remains optimistic about air transportation.

The future of Fly Jamaica includes expansion beyond the region, he said, noting that his carrier was weighing entry into South America and even Africa. Fly Jamaica now flies Kingston, Georgetown, New York and Toronto, and offers charter flights for cargo.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com