Fly Jamaica Airways (OJ, Kingston Norman Manley) has filed for bankruptcy protection as it endeavours to restructure itself and remain a going concern, which could ultimately mean the sale of the business.

Lodged with the Jamaican Office of Insolvency on October 29, Marlon Murdock who acts as an agent for Fly Jamaica trustee Wilfred Baghaloo, and who spoke to The Gleaner newspaper, said the move follows the failure of a group investors to acquire the airline from founder Paul Reece earlier this year.

The prospective buyers, headed by French acquisition and diversification firm W&L SAS, had originally planned to get the airline back in the air by September, but encountered difficulties in completing the deal. At the same time, the carrier's debts kept accruing, and due to Fly Jamaica's grounding, there was no revenue being accumulated. The airline terminated all operations on March 31 this year following a major runway excursion event of its sole B757-200, N524AT (msn 30233), in November 2018 at Georgetown Cheddi Jagan.

“The process now is that since Fly Jamaica has filed a notice of intention, they had an initial 30 days to put together a proposal that they were going to present to creditors, who will then vote on it so that they can either accept or reject,” said Murdock. "They’ve been given an extension for that initial 30 days so the new date will be January 14, 2020.”

The airline has so far presented a list of close to 260 creditors, who are owed around USD22 million dollars, however, this list is believed not to be comprehensive.

Murdock concluded by saying that if the airline was to fly again it would need a new capital injection.

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, there are just a handful of operators currently registered in Jamaica, including International Airlink (Montego Bay), Jam Air Express (Montego Bay), and the government-owned Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing, as well as start-up carrier Knightflight Airways (Montego Bay). Former flag carrier Air Jamaica (BW, Kingston Norman Manley) was merged into Caribbean Airlines (BW, Port of Spain) in 2014.