flyOriole (Kingston Norman Manley) plans to launch operations in March 2021 as an ultra-low-cost-carrier, the start-up's management told a press conference in Kingson last week.

According to the Jamaica Observer newspaper, the airline is chaired by Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, formerly Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, and Project Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) designate Keith Kerr, who has been involved in airline start-ups in Saudi Arabia, Philippines, and Japan.

“I knew from the time when I was Minister of Tourism that Jamaica has been a graveyard for airlines," Ndombet-Assamba said. "We probably remember Trans-Jamaican Airlines, Jamaica Air Shuttle, Air Jamaica Express, Air Jamaica and most recently Fly Jamaica Airways. They have all come and gone. I hope like me you will be persuaded that now is the time for a bold new vision for the aviation sector in Jamaica."

"The Jamaican market is booming and is ripe with the right proposition to have great success," added Kerr. "Starting an airline is perceived to be difficult, as airlines in this country [are normally] started by people who are passionate flyers rather than people who are passionate business people. The problem with prior operators is that they have always started under capitalised."

According to the CEO, Oriole has secured over 80% of its initial funding from Jamaican and European sources. "We still need to finalise on the issue of the Jamaican content in the ownership. There is still an opportunity for folks here to invest." The LCC will be making an Initial Public Offering (IPO) after the start-up phase, but Kerr insisted that control with remain with Jamaican nationals.

The type and quantity of aircraft have yet to be disclosed, however, they will be leased. Domestic flights will consist of an hourly shuttle between Kingston Norman Manley and Montego Bay and intra-island flights to Negril, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio. Regional flights will reach Barbados, Curacao, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, the top three airlines in terms of weekly capacity to Jamaica are currently American Airlines (19% share), Delta Air Lines (12% share), and JetBlue Airways (11% share).