INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK
“Jamaica: The Aviation Story”
Airports Authority of Jamaica, a statutory body charged with the management of the island’s airport systems on behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, has commissioned the book “Jamaica: The Aviation Story”. The author is the distinguished University of the West Indies Professor of History, Dr. Patrick Bryan.
The publication of this groundbreaking work, the first of its kind in Jamaica is timely, given the recent commemoration of the 100th year anniversary of the “heavier than air” machine-powered flight of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, USA, in 1903, and the 30th anniversary (in 2004) of Airports Authority of Jamaica.
The book chronicles aviation development in this English-speaking, former colony of Great Britain, starting in 1911, “when the first plane arrived under Jamaican skies’, with many thinking it was the second coming of Christ, and ending its chronology just after the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, which hobbled the global aviation industry.
It addresses the links of aviation with war, starting with World Wars 1 and 11; with geo-politicking; economic development; development of the postal system; crop-dusting; growth in the narcotics trade; the rapid technological innovations in the twentieth century; with changes in lifestyle; as well as establishing vital links to foreign policy, diplomacy and the movement towards international cooperation, in the context of the Stockholm Convention, the Paris Convention, the USA-UK Bermuda Agreement and the Chicago Convention, among others.
For Jamaica specifically, and the Caribbean in general, aviation became a major factor in national and economic development, paving the way for growth of air-tourism and helped spiral growth in both the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
Since the work is written by an acknowledged and accomplished scholar, it will have academic significance, and contribute to the archives of local and regional history. The book addresses many social, cultural and environmental factors, and presents the people of Jamaica, in a lively, interesting manner, and is spiced with delightful anecdotes.