Should We Keep Air Jamaica?
I am no expert in the airline industry, but it seems to me that the losses that Air Jamaica has been racking up in recent years are reason enough to close it down.
The arguments that I have heard for keeping it open strike me as spurious, as argued in the Observer and Gleaner newspapers.
They sound to me as if the authorities are unwilling to believe that the free market works, and that as long as there is a profit to be made, airlines will continue to fly into Jamaica. The evidence strongly suggests that they are increasingly willing to fly here for smaller and smaller margins -- the evidence being the recent cut in the cost of a seat from say, Kingston to Miami from US$400 + to less than US$200, where it has been for some time.
Given the US$120 millions loss it made in 2005, and a similar amount expected last year, I have to think that we could that same money (much less in fact) to attract other countries to use the country as a destination. Heck, if we even subsidized them in might be cheaper than continuing this losing game.
However, at the moment it seems that pride is trumping economics, and that we as a people are unwilling to admit the defeat of the airline, and the loss of face that we think would follow.
Also, a recent study showed that the benefit to the country of having Air Jamaica was in the millions of dollars, but this is beside the point. There is no argument that we need airlift for the success of our economy. However, does it need to be provided by Air Jamaica?
It's just that there must be a point at which the losses overcome the loss of face -- it's not US$120m, obviously.
What is it?