The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) reports that a number of major US carriers are increasing service to the Caribbean for the winter, making it easier to travel to the world’s number one warm weather destination. In addition, intra-Caribbean airlines are making changes to their schedules to facilitate onward connections from various gateways.
“The market is beginning to respond in the way we had hoped. Consumers are starting to plan their winter vacations now and securing the best deals while they are still available,” said Hugh Riley, director of marketing for the Americas, CTO. “As a destination that’s ‘close to home,’ the Caribbean delivers the fundamentals of comfort and affordability, world class amenities and unbeatable hospitality,” Riley said. “With the gradual recovery of the US economy our airline partners are seeing increased consumer demand and are responding by unveiling additional flights and new routes to the Caribbean,” he added.
Air Jamaica has announced that beginning Sept. 9, 2003, it will reschedule its service from Orlando, FL, to Jamaica, operating five times a week, so that flights will arrive in its Montego Bay hub in time to connect with its onward service to various gateways throughout the Caribbean. Starting Oct. 26, 2003, the carrier will serve the island of Bonaire three times a week, operating on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule.
On Nov. 1, 2003, American Airlines will be adding service from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti and from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. American will begin nonstop weekend service between San Juan and Los Angeles Dec. 19, using 767 aircraft. A spokesperson for the carrier also indicated increased frequencies during this time from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to several destinations in the U.S. Also, seasonal nonstop flights from Boston to St. Thomas will resume on Nov. 1 and continue through May 1.
This year, American Airlines also resumed daily flights from Caracas, Venezuela, to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX.
New Airline, BonairExel
On August 18, 2003, BonairExel, a new airline based in Bonaire, will begin service from Bonaire to Aruba and Curacao and between Aruba and Curacao. The airline expects to offer 14 flights per day between Bonaire and Curacao, six flights per day between Bonaire and Aruba and four flights between Curacao and Aruba. The flight schedule and fares are still subject to approval by the Antillean government. For these routes BonairExel will use 46-seat ATR42 turboprop planes. The airline plans to add service to St. Maarten for which they will use an Embrarer-145 Jet, with 50 seats. Shortly consumers will be able to book flights through their preferred IATA travel professional, at airport sales offices or by visiting www.bonaireexel.an, which will be online by the end of August.
Caribbean Sun Airlines, Inc.
Over the past few months, Caribbean Sun Airlines, Inc., sister airline of Caribbean Star Alliances, Ltd., commenced service from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and Antigua.
Continental Airlines now offers service from its Houston, TX, hub to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Aruba. Additionally, Continental now features flights from Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, with continuing service to Kingston, Jamaica and Santiago, Dominican Republic. The carrier, which planned to augment service in June 2003 from Newark to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, postponed the service until December 2003.
LIAT has reintroduced two non-stop daily flights between Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico, operating on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.