The symbolic Guyana flag – the Golden Arrowhead of achievement was the backdrop for a historic moment, that began with the operations crew of Fly Jamaica Airways, cutting the ribbon to unveil the carrier’s inaugural flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport’s, Terminal 1, on Friday, Sept. 27.
Special guests, passengers and the media witnessed the beginning of this partnership between Jamaica and Guyana to airlift travelers on a non-stop voyage to the South American country, opening up the country’s tourism industry.
The beautiful flight attendants greeted the more that 150 travelers, before a charming voice announced, “welcome to Fly Jamaica – sit back, relax, and let us take care of you.” The 757-200 series aircraft then pushed back from the gate at 12:45, just shy of its 12:15 scheduled departure time.
After a bit of runway traffic to overcome, the flight soared to 5500ft altitude against sunny skies, and above the clouds, for its five and a half hour-flight to Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
As the flight proceeded to its destination, JFK Assistant Area Manager Kayla Reece, daughter of Chief Operating Officer, Captain Ronald Reece and Roxanne Reece, expressed her excitement at the inaugural flight that she said had been in the works for many months.
During an interview from the comfortable First Class section, the young Reece, astutely dressed in her black, green and yellow Fly Jamaica colors, conveyed that she was absolutely ecstatic that the direct service to Georgetown had come to fruition.
“We look forward to the support of the Guyanese people so that Fly Jamaica could have a long standing relationship with the traveling public.
“As the assistant manager at JFK, nothing is more disappointing than sending off a half-full plane. We want our flights to be on time, and full of passengers regardless of the destination,” added Reece.
Fly Jamaica is positioned to penetrate the market with its competitive prices. And according to Reece, the carrier looks forward to providing excellent service on its 198-seat Boeing 757 aircraft, Friday weekly direct flight into Georgetown.
However, on its return flight, a stop over in Kingston, Jamaica is required, due to a temporary measure by the Department of Transpiration that is currently reviewing the airline’s request for non-stop status from Georgetown. The Thursday and Sunday flights will make scheduled stops in Jamaica.
“As soon as this measure is approved, passengers will enjoy the non-stop service both ways,” added the airline professional.
Reece explained that her parent’s desire is to extend the service to boost Guyana’s tourism industry through their company – “Wings Aviation”, that operates charters to tourist destinations in Guyana.
“It is important for Fly Jamaica to encourage tourist to travel to Guyana so that “we could support the tourism industry that is currently underdeveloped, she said.
With Fly Jamaica’s reasonable ticket price of $397.00 one-way, in place, Reece is confident that the low fare, compared to the $1400.00 passengers were paying to fly to Guyana, will help to grow their passenger load during the summer peak season, airlifting students, in addition to the Christmas, Easter and Mashramani rush.
Captain/Instructor with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, Lt. Col Egbert Field, a guest onboard, congratulated Fly Jamaica, and said the airline has all the ingredients to be successful in it operations, because of the joint venture between Guyana and Jamaica, and its family oriented approach to the business.
Guyanese-born Field, former pilot of late President Forbes Burnham, and a one-time captain of defunct Guyana Airway, gave the airline high marks after he said he had the opportunity to overlook its operations.
“The staff is professional, the pilots are qualified, the flight attendants are fantastic, and the Boeing 757 – once used by Guyana Airways, is equipped to transport passengers and their standard allotment of luggage to make this route a great success, he added.
During the celebration on board, a lucky passenger was presented with a bottle of Jamaican run, while all passengers received certificates signed by JFK Area Manager Ann Marie Francis, and Assistant Area Manager, Kayla R Reece, to commemorate the inaugural flight. The bottom of the certificate read, “One Team One Dream.”
Finally at 6:30 p.m., Fly Jamaica touched down at Cheddi Jagan International Airport against thunderous applause, before flight attendants opened the aircraft door and waved the Guyana flag.