Jamaican travelers may soon benefit from a new low-cost carrier called Fly Oriole.
The start-up plans to initially offer inter-island service to some of the more trafficked cities and towns, with the longer term plan of flying to various destinations within the Caribbean, as well as to some Central and South American countries.
Speaking at the launch event at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston, chairman of Oriole Limited, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, said:
“I knew from the time when I was minister of tourism that Jamaica has been a graveyard for airlines. We probably remember Trans-Jamaican Airlines, Jamaica Air Shuttle, Air Jamaica Express, Air Jamaica and most recently Fly Jamaica. They have all come and gone. I hope like me you will be persuaded that now is the time for a bold new vision for the aviation sector in Jamaica. We have a rare opportunity to consider our own transformational investment opportunity for Jamaica.”
At the helm is Chief Executive Officer Keith Kerr who has previous experience in managerial roles at British Airways, Bournemouth International Airport, and Air Jamaica. He was also a partner with Mango Aviation Partners Limited. Mark Dennis also joined the team almost a year ago as a director to assist the airline with the use of biofuels.
As mentioned above, the airline proposes inter-island service, with the most notable route being between Kingston and Montego Bay. They propose regular service between the two cities, 7 days a week. It would be interesting to see how this works as they would be going up against Jam Air which already provides service from Kingston Tinson Pen to Sangster International in Montego Bay, among other smaller charters which operate similar routes.
They also plan to serve other towns such a Negril, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Turtle Beach. They are also seeking to expand regionally, initially targeting Grand Cayman, Haiti, and Cuba.
In the longer run, they plan to target more Caribbean, Central and South American destinations. According to their road map, they hope to fly to Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Panama, Puerto Rico and Trinidad & Tobago.
Strangely enough, their introductory video features an Airbus A380 painted in the airline’s proposed livery, but as we have seen in the past, videos like these are simply placeholders for marketing purposes.
Factoring in what Fly Oriole promises, the planned low-cost carrier would be better off operating a mixed fleet of turboprops and smaller regional jets. The company’s CEO did mention that he wants to offer a lot of capacity as well to keep prices down, so maybe they may even see a 737s or A320s joining the fleet?
For now, the only information put out there is that the airline will be leasing aircraft for its shuttle service between the cities and towns within Jamaica.
According to their website’s countdown, the airline hopes to launch service on February 22, 2021. Kerr noted at the launch conference that they have already secured 80% of the start-up funding needed for the airline, and have plans of putting out an initial public offering to the citizens of Jamaica prior to launch. Kerr noted that previous start-up airlines that folded in Jamaica failed mainly because they did not have the necessary financing during the early stages.
[Featured Photo: Fly Oriole]