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JALPA says it can afford Air J

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2010 | 9:11 AM

The Jamaica Airline Pilots’ Association (JALPA) is rejecting Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s claim that it lacks a proper plan to take over the national carrier.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Golding said the recent proposal submitted by JALPA provides little evidence that it will be able to takeover and sustain the airline.

Mr Golding said the pilots have not presented any credible evidence of their ability to secure the estimated US$100 million needed to buy the Lovebird.

According to the prime minister, in a letter to him dated January 26, the pilots made key assumptions that were based on incorrect facts.

He said JALPA’s business plan assumes that total redundancy payments to Air Jamaica employees will amount to US$47 million and that 40 million or 85 per cent of that amount would be converted to equity.

However, the prime minister said only US$27 million would be made in redundancy payments.

This means that with 85 per cent of the employees putting up their redundancy money, there would be a shortfall of US$17 million.

But, Captain Russell Capelton, the immediate past president of JALPA is insisting that the pilots would be in a position to buy the airline because they have confirmed prospective equity partners.

The government has said it will only consider discussions with the pilots if current negotiations with the Trinidad based Caribbean Airlines falls through.