…over $8M in reimbursements complaints received
Stemming from a discussion between Fly Jamaica and the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC), the airline has given its word to process refunds owed to inconvenienced passengers by July 1, 2019.
Those passengers were left stranded when a Boeing 757 flight crash landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) at Timehri, East Bank Demerara, in November after encountering hydraulic issues.
According to the Consumer Department, it met with the airline on May 2 where they discussed compensation for those travellers. Some 46 complaints have been received so far by the Commission which value about $8, 316, 504, CCAC said.
In attendance at the meeting were the Director of CCAC, Dawn Cush, Consumer Affairs Officer, Feyona Austin-Paul and Senior Investigator, David Kaladin of the Consumer Affairs Unit along with Fly Jamaica’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Reece and Operations Manager, Carl Bowen.
“Resulting from the discussions, Fly Jamaica has committed to work with the Commission to process refunds for consumers by July 1, 2019. Captain Paul Reece expressed his regret at the situation and looks forward to bringing closure to the matter, stating that, refunds to consumers is at the top of the company’s agenda,” the Consumer agency said.
Further, the Commission reminded that it is committed to ensuring that consumers are kept updated on the developments as it continues to engage the airline on passengers’ refunds.
In a recent interview with this publication, the Consumer Affairs Officer had pointed out that the airline could be hauled before the courts if it fails to compensate affected passengers.
Initially, the airline had promised the Commission to begin payments in March but was unable to do so due to lack of funds. Subsequent to this announcement, Fly Jamaica made its staff redundant at the end of March.
In light of this, the consumer officer explained, “They will be treated just like a normal supplier and the [Consumer] Act will be enforced against them”.
She noted that it was too early to determine whether the Commission will be forced to take the airline to court or if passengers themselves would have to make that move. Already, two lawsuits have been filed against the airline, both for compensation to passengers. The most recent order was issued in December.
Of the 120 passengers on board the Boeing 757 flight on November 9, 2018, along with eight crew members, at least six were injured during the crash landing.
An 86-year-old woman died one week after the incident as a result of brain swelling.
The flight left the CJIA for Toronto at about 02:10h on November 9, 2018, from the CJIA, but after reportedly encountering hydraulic issues, the pilot returned to the airport where the aircraft crash landed at about 02:53h.