US Virgin Islands governor Kenneth Mapp has welcomed the inaugural Spirit Airlines flight from Orlando to St. Thomas on touchdown.
Spirit flight 284, with a full flight of 145 passengers, landed at Cyril King International Airport shortly before 15:00 to a traditional water cannon salute.
The Airbus 319 was greeted with a Carnival-themed welcome, Cruzan rum samples for passengers and warm Virgin Islands hospitality.
Spirit Airlines will operate three flights a week between Orlando and St. Thomas, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
The service adds to the present daily flights between Fort Lauderdale and St. Thomas.
Thanking the airline for strengthening “aerial highways” to the Virgin Islands, governor Mapp, highlighted the importance of the Central Florida market to the destination.
The governor welcomed Spirit’s team and its passengers to St. Thomas and thanked the department of tourism for its continuing efforts to boost the economic development of the islands by attracting increased airlift to the Territory.
“Our partnership with Spirit Airlines continues to grow and expand for the benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands and the benefit of Spirit Airlines’ employees and shareholders, and we look forward to strengthening our relationship in the future,” Mapp said.
Before take-off in Orlando, passengers were greeted by tourism representatives, steel pan music, carnival dancers and a celebratory cake to commemorate the opening of this important gateway to St. Thomas.
Spirit also serves the island of St. Croix with three weekly flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Henry Rohlsen Airport.