Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor
The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre
Finance Minister Dr. Peter Philips says discussions are being held with US-based airlines to fill the void, which would result from the pending withdrawal of Air Jamaica from the Philadelphia to Montego Bay route.
He was responding to questions from opposition spokesman on Tourism Edmund Bartlett, during yesterday’s sitting of the standing finance committee.
Bartlett raised concern about the potential fallout from the termination of flights on what he says was one of Air Jamaica’s key routes.
However, Dr. Phillips said at least two airlines have indicated that they would be willing to take over the route based on the expected traffic from Philadelphia to Montego Bay.
On Monday, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Evelyn Smith also raised concern about the pending termination of the route.
According to her, the pullout could have implications for the tourism sector as Philadelphia offers a very consistent supply of visitors.
While Air Jamaica’s parent company, Caribbean Airlines has not confirmed when the route will be cut, efforts to book a flight on Friday for any date after July 1 proved futile.
The termination of flights from Philadelphia to Montego Bay is believed to be part of efforts by the Trinidad and Tobago government, to reduce overheads at Caribbean Airlines.