Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago – Since the signing of the initial agreement almost a year ago, the Caribbean Airlines team continues to work towards the consolidation of Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines in time for the 30 April 2011 deadline of the Shareholder Agreement. As with any merger or acquisition, centralization of most of the airline’s operations continues to be the main purpose of this integration process. In this case, centralizing the operations is critical in order to make sound business decisions for the long-term benefit of the company.
As with most acquisitions, there are difficult decisions that will have to be taken during any integration process. Whilst there may be redundancies in some departments, other departments have in fact increased their head count. For example, since December 2010, new pilots were hired for Air Jamaica, with vacancies still open to date. In March 2011, the airline began filling 75 vacant positions to fill the personnel requirements for cabin crew. Caribbean Airlines needs to ensure that its systems and operations are efficient to ensure the long term economic viability of the company. The airline continues to employ Jamaicans in a viable manner resulting in a turnaround in the Air Jamaica operations. There was a 15% increase in passenger numbers for March when compared to the same period in 2010.
Currently employees in Jamaica are being informed about the future plans for the airline. All job titles and salaries have been standardised across the company thereby levelling the playing field for all employees ensuring that there is no discrimination between the two companies. All relevant HR procedures have been followed to assist in the integration process. Employees are encouraged to have clear and open dialogue with their respective lines to encouraging transparency. Caribbean Airlines is committed to implementing its integration plan so that the airline can concentrate on making its operations a success.
Three of six Boeing 737-800 aircraft have been inducted as Caribbean Airlines continues to move towards an all-Boeing 737-800 fleet. Already during the integration process there was marked improvement in the Air Jamaica product. Air Jamaica’s On Time Performance (OTP) increased by an average of three percent each quarter since Caribbean Airlines acquired Air Jamaica operations on 01 May 2010. Year-to-date OTP average for Air Jamaica in 2011 is 78%; a 14% increase for OTP recorded for the same period in 2010. Caribbean Airlines continues to excel in pursuit of excellence and to be the preferred airline of choice for the region.