Interview with JAPLA president, Captain Russell Capleton discussing their bid to buy Air Jamaica

Recently the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association (JALPA) submitted a bid to the Jamaican government to buy Air Jamaica. This month we interview Jamaica Airline Pilots Association (JALPA) president, Captain Russell Capleton, to discuss their efforts to buy Air Jamaica.

Q: Why did the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association place a bid for Air Jamaica ? Was the association asked to do this by the pilots and employees of Air Jamaica ? What was the thinking behind the bid? 
 A: Jalpa in spearheading the purchase felt that the staff should be participants in the divestment process rather than being victims of it. Further,the association has the capability and the machinery to accomplish that task

Q: Are you getting a lot of popular support for the JALPA bid?
 A: Overwhelmingly so from all quarters

Q: How has the bid been received by the Government?
 A: Our initial letter of interest was well received. It remains too early to comment on our subsequent formal proposal as we understand a relpy will shortly be forthcoming. 

Q: The perception by many Jamaicans is the Jamaica government prefers foreign companies over local companies. Has this perception help drive popular support for JALPA effort?  
 A: It would be presumtuous of us to speculate on the government’s preferences as frankly we never considered it and don’t know.

Q: Are you confident the government will take the bid seriously?
 A: Yes. We expect so

Q: Do you believe your organization has a good chance to win the bid?
A: When afforded the opportunity we believe that we our proposal will be very attractive to the seller.

Q: Do you have funding in place or will you need the government’s assistance?
A: Appropriate financial terms will be sought and continues to be offered by financial institutions and venture capitalists. No government assistance has been contemplated.

Q: How can the average Jamaican or friend of Air Jamaica help?
A: By their continued support and encouragement.

Q: I know this may be premature however we may not get another opportunity to ask these questions. If you win the bid what is the JALPA’s vision of Air Jamaica ? 
A: When successful in this bid it is our stated objective to operate a profitable entity firstly. Stabilize the airline then expand based on a situational analysis and assessment.

Q: Do you believe your organization has the skill set to run the business end of an airline?
A: A team of professionals has already been identified, and would be employed to run the airline.

Q: Will there be opportunities for people to invest in Air Jamaica stock?
 A: It is our intention to offer such opportunities in the near future

Q: Many in the Jamaican Diaspora were disappointed when Air Jamaica stopped flying in their city. Will there be a re-assessment of routes?
A:  A route assessment would definitely be conducted on acquisition. Each route however must be profitable

Q: Captain Capleton thanks for the interview. Do you have a final message for the loyal Air Jamaica supporters?
A: I would like to express to our supporters, sincere appreciation for their prayers and best wishes. We greatly value the support given us by the Jamaican diaspora, recognizing that without them the airline could not exist. We, regardless of the final outcome, will always treasure their assistance during Air Jamaica’s greatest hour of need. We intend to provide a solid profitable product knowing that with there help we will grow from strength to strength. 

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Xavier Murphy