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Bahamas' Western Air lands in Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | April 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Paul Hall (left), senior vice-president of operations at the Norman Manley International Airport, welcomes Rex Rolle (right), president and chief executive officer of Western Air, after the airline's inaugural flight landed in Kingston yesterday. Captain of the flight, Seyfert Wolf, looks on. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Western Air, a Bahamas-based airline, made its first trip into Kingston yesterday, a day after Air Jamaica officially ended its services to that country.

Shortly after the flight landed, Rex Rolle, Western Air's president and chief executive officer, expressed confidence that the route was viable, but conceded that his airline would also benefit from the departure of Air Jamaica.

"There are a lot of Bahamians here living and going to school and there are a lot of Jamaicans working in Nassau. Most of them don't have (US) visas, so it would be difficult for them to travel," he explained.

Perfect aircraft size

Another factor that will benefit Western Air, Rolle said, is the size of the aircraft the airline will use.

"Based on the data we have, the 33-seater is perfect for this route," he said, comparing it to the much larger planes used by Air Jamaica.

In addition, Rolle said that at a maximum of US$400 per round trip, Western Air is also offering a cheaper alternative.

Western Air will not employ any local staff, as Jamaica Dispatch Limited has been contracted to handle all ground operations.

The inaugural flight, a SAAB 340A aircraft with 33 passengers, touched down at the Norman Manley International Airport just before noon.

Initially, Western Air will operate one flight per day into Kingston between Sunday and Friday before adding daily service to Montego Bay on Fridays and Sundays in four weeks' time.