Increased flights to the Caribbean

An American Airlines aircraft taxis past the terminal at Miami International Airport, Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Miami.
Associated Press / Lynne Sladky

An influx of new flights to the Caribbean is making airline and tourism industries increasingly busy, according to reports.

JetBlue Airways has announced that flights on its new route between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Southern Florida and Providenciales International Airport (PLS) in the Turks and Caicos Islands are now on sale, Travel Agent Central has reported.

It said the year-round, daily service starts Nov. 19, with JetBlue offering an introductory fare of only US$99 each way between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Turks and Caicos.

“The new route shows JetBlue’s commitment to continuing expansion in the Caribbean, where it is already the largest carrier from the U.S.,” Travel Agent Central said.

“The flights are also part of JetBlue’s ongoing growth at its focus city in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, where it now offers flights to more than 40 destinations,” it added, stating that eight new destinations, including Turks and Caicos, have been announced this year.

Travel Agent Central said the Miami-based HavanaAir Charters continues its expansion into the Cuba market with its direct air carrier partner Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc.

HavanaAir will begin weekly, direct service from Houston International Airport in Texas to Havana, Cuba, “giving U.S. West Coast gateway cities a more convenient and faster route to Cuba,” Travel Agent Central said.

HavanaAir is one of the largest providers of passenger traffic to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island, currently operating some 65 flights a month to Havana from Miami, with additional service to Santa Clara and Camaguey.

“We are very pleased to open the Houston to Cuba market with our valued partner, Eastern Air Lines,” said Mark Elias, president and chief operating officer of HavanaAir Charters, in a statement.

“HavanaAir has strived to extend the utmost in customer services to the island, and our partnership with Eastern has proven to provide an entirely new level of service to Cuba with their Next Generation Boeing aircraft, truly professional crew and support staff,” he added.

Expanded service includes new flights to Curacao International Airport (CUR) and Sangster International Airport (MBJ) in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

American Airlines, reportedly the world’s largest airline, is also planning to start service again to Grand Cayman Island, according to Travel Agent Central.

It said JetBlue Airways began direct charter flights between New York and Havana, the first major US carrier to fly the route following U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision in December to normalize relations with Cuba.

JetBlue now operates five weekly round trips to Cuba, including flights from Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood with various charter partners, said the company in a statement.

Last week, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) confirmed that American Airlines will add nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Sangster International Airport, starting Dec. 18, 2015.

“In response to high demand, the carrier’s new route, currently open for sale, will give the West Coast market direct access to Jamaica twice a week, on Fridays and Saturdays,” said JTB in a statement.

“We are pleased that American Airlines has chosen to expand their service to Montego Bay with this new nonstop service” said Paul Pennicook, JTB’s Director of Tourism.

“California is a notable market for Jamaica and the addition of this flight will increase the destination’s convenience to West Coast travelers,” he added. “We’re delighted to work with American Airlines to help travelers discover Jamaica’s beautiful attractions and outstanding hospitality.”

Art Torno, American’s senior vice president International and Cargo, said: “As the premier carrier to the Caribbean, these new flights highlight our commitment to providing our customers with a network that is second to none.

“We are committed to Jamaica and this new route will further promote travel and tourism to the country,” he added.

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