Banmiller may return to Air Jamaica
Former Aloha Airlines President and Chief Executive David Banmiller may be heading back to Air Jamaica.
Banmiller is one of four candidates on a short list for the CEO position at the financially strapped airline, according to a news report coming out of that country.
Banmiller, who was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Air Jamaica before leaving to head Aloha in November 2004, didn't return several phone calls and e-mails yesterday.
Sen. Don Wehby, a finance minister in Jamaica, confirmed to Radio Jamaica's RJR News yesterday that Banmiller was one of the short-list candidates. Wehby, who has direct responsibility for Air Jamaica, didn't immediately return a phone call yesterday.
An earlier report by RJR News said Banmiller already had been selected as the new president and CEO.
But Thom Nulty, Aloha's former senior vice president of marketing and sales, said yesterday that in a conversation he had with Banmiller on Tuesday, Banmiller told him a report of his selection as CEO was "premature."
Banmiller, who took Aloha into bankruptcy twice during his tenure, relinquished his position in late April when Aloha converted its latest bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 liquidation from a Chapter 11 reorganization.
Former Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Bruce Nobles, who was president and chief operating officer of Air Jamaica from 2002-2003 -- prior to Banmiller's arrival -- said from his Dallas home yesterday that he had been approached by Wehby in January to become interim CEO of Air Jamaica.
"He was trying to sell the company and I had been there before and he asked if I would do that," said Nobles, who works as an aviation consultant now but earlier this year served for two weeks as a financial consultant for Aloha's unsecured creditors' committee. "I'm not sure what happened because I never heard back from him."
Nobles said Air Jamaica has been losing about $100 million a year "and I'm proud to say it lost only $50 million the year I was running it," he said. "It's a poor country and the government wants Air Jamaica to survive, but it can't afford the losses."
Wehby said the recently appointed board of Air Jamaica will seek to restructure the airline and divest it by March, with the country retaining a 20 percent ownership of the carrier, according to RJR News. Wehby said it would take between $300 million and $500 million to recapitalize Air Jamaica.