Jamaica’s two airports, Sangster in Montego Bay, and Kingston are completing major overhauls, in a bid to meet increased capacity requirements.
The two airports are also improve efficiencies which will ultimately enhance the overall customer experience.
Montego Bay’s Sangster International is undertaking a US$160m transformation that has seen the expansion of its business lounge facilities and the introduction of additional gates. The expansion project will also entail upgrading the airport’s customs areas, immigration facilities and check-in and shopping areas. Funds have also been earmarked for expanding the airport’s runway.
Kingston’s Norman Manley International has also embarked on a similar 18-month upgrade programme, which will also see the expansion of lounge facilities, more gates and the upgrading of the airport’s customs and immigration facilities.
Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism of Jamaica Tourist Board welcomes these improvements: “Work on both airports is well underway and we are already seeing positive results. We felt it was important to upgrade these facilities, particularly as we continue to enjoy increased visitor numbers and we want to ensure that each visitor’s first experience upon arrival at either airport is a positive one. The work currently being undertaken by both airports will ensure that Jamaica provides visitors with world-class facilities, making them the best of their kind across the Caribbean. This is just part of a series of upgrade programmes that the Jamaican Government is embarking upon at present.”
“All of these factors combined with improvements to road and transport infrastructure, increased hotel room stock and the introduction of new attractions put Jamaica in a strong position for 2006.
The airport expansion programme is also timely as 2006 will see a significant increase in airlift for Jamaica from both the UK and the US, so the additional capacity is essential. Supplementing the daily service (London Heathrow - Montego Bay - Kingston) offered by Air Jamaica, new entrants include the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic twice weekly flights from London Gatwick to Montego Bay in July 2006; and First Choice Airways have already commenced a fortnightly charter flight from London Gatwick to Montego Bay and Manchester Airport to Montego Bay,” the Director observes.
“US Airways has also introduced additional flights to Jamaica, from Boston to Montego Bay, Fort Lauderdale to Montego Bay and Pittsburgh to Montego Bay. Spirit Airways is now also flying daily non-stop from Fort Lauderdale to Kingston and Montego Bay and on Sunday, Wednesday Thursday and Saturday from Orlando to Montego Bay. And as of June 1st Delta Airlines will introduce a daily non-stop service from Atlanta to Kingston in addition to daily non-stop flights from Atlanta to Montego Bay. This additional airlift from both markets is expected to further boost tourism arrivals after what is proving to be an extremely buoyant winter season,” concludes Pennicook.