For the second time, the embattled Fly Jamaica Airline has failed to refund owed passengers, although it promised to process those refunds by July 1.
Consumer Affairs Officer Feyona Austin-Paul, who is attached to the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC), in an interview with this publication on Tuesday said the airline’s officials were contacted after fuming passengers turned up at the agency’s Sophia, Georgetown office on Tuesday morning to seek answers on their owed monies.
“They have not processed the refunds. They didn’t give us a reason, so we are trying to organize another meeting with them so that they can update us on what is really going on and we can know what other steps we have to take,” the officer said.
Asked about the next decision, given that the airline has failed to deliver on its second promise to repay passengers, Austin-Paul said the Commission’s Board will now hand down judgement.
“That’s at the Board level; because once an investigation is finished and they have not complied, then we’ll have to refer to our Board and they will make that decision on what steps should be taken,” she said.
Further, the Consumer Affairs Officer noted that this step is usually the one taken after a service or goods provider refuses to comply.
On Tuesday morning, a number of aggrieved passengers turned up with plaque cards at the Commission’s office.
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.
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 2018 after encountering hydraulic issues.
The flight left the CJIA for Toronto at about 02:10h on November 9 from the CJIA, but the pilot returned to the airport where the aircraft crash-landed at about 02:53h.
Of the 120 passengers on board the flight, along with eight crew members, at least six were injured during the crash landing.
The cash-strapped airline has since made all its workers redundant, effective from March 1, 2019. Most of the fired former employees are still awaiting their salaries as well.
In fact, only earlier last month, those ex-workers stormed out of a meeting with the Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department after they claimed the meeting failed to address the issue of owed salaries, among others, affecting some 300 workers.
One employee claimed she is owed more than $700,000 for the period of November 2018 through March 2019.