KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Trinidad's Caribbean Airlines will take over operations of cash-strapped Air Jamaica and its seven routes, retaining 1,000 employees, according to aviation officials.

Air Jamaica will keep its equipment and offices at the airport, and the Jamaican government will have a 16-percent share in Caribbean Airlines, said Denis Lalor, chairman of Air Jamaica's divestment committee.
Flights to cities such as New York, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Philadelphia will continue, and Caribbean Airlines expects to announce other routes soon. All tickets previously issued will be honored, Lalor said.

Government officials in Trinidad will invest $50 million in the airline following the May 1 takeover, he said.

The Jamaican government had set a March 2009 deadline to divest Air Jamaica after it accumulated roughly $1.3 billion in debt.

In 2007, the government sold the Kingston-to-London route to Virgin Atlantic, and last year, the airline laid off roughly 500 employees as it eliminated routes to Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles.