[Tourism] Caribbean sees a boost in winter airlift

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[Tourism] Caribbean sees a boost in winter airlift

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Dec 31, 2015

http://www.travelweekly.com/Caribbean-T ... er-airlift

[Tourism] Caribbean sees a boost in winter airlift
Gay Nagle Myers
December 30, 2015

Travelers headed to the Caribbean this winter will discover that Santa has unloaded a sleigh full of new flights and routes, primarily from East Coast gateways. Based on customer demand, JetBlue expanded its seasonal weekly Mint service from New York Kennedy to Barbados to a year-round operation less than a month after its introduction on Nov. 7. In addition, the Saturday-only flight is operating daily during the holiday period through Jan. 4 and will then revert back to the weekly schedule.

Dave Clark, vice president of networking planning, said that the response from JetBlue customers to the Mint service "has exceeded expectations on our Barbados route, and we're thrilled to expand to a year-round operation." With the addition of Mint flying during the summer season, JetBlue will be providing three roundtrip frequencies between New York and Barbados from June 18 through Sept. 3.

Another new route for the carrier is the Fort Lauderdale-Turks and Caicos service, now in operation. JetBlue recently boosted its roundtrip charter service between New York and Havana to two flights a week, following its launch of weekly service last July. Cuba Travel Services, an authorized carrier service provider, handles the travel arrangements for JetBlue's Cuba charters, which serve Santa Clara as well as Havana from New York, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.

Cayman Airways' launch of service between Cayman Brac and Holguin, Cuba, was described by Moses Kirkconnell, deputy premier and minister of tourism for the Cayman Islands, as a complement to the airline's existing flights between Grand Cayman and Havana, which often operate at full capacity. "This also allows us to make better use of our assets, in this case the airport on Cayman Brac, which was recently expanded to handle more capacity," Kirkconnell said.

The carrier also added a Saturday nonstop, outbound flight from Cayman Brac to Miami, thanks to the recent renovations at the airport, which brought the facility into compliance with international safety standards for nonstop flights into the U.S.

In the Turks and Caicos, InterCaribbean Airways began twice-weekly service Dec. 10 between Providenciales and Santiago de Cuba. Flights to Havana from Provo begin in early 2016.

Low-fare carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle introduced three nonstop weekly seasonal flights from New York to Martinique on Dec. 3, marking the first time that the island has been directly accessible by air from the Northeast in more than 20 years. These were followed two days later by the launch of twice-weekly service from both Baltimore/Washington and Boston to Martinique.

The new flights mark the latest in a series of airlift developments in Martinique, according to Muriel Wiltord, Americas director for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. Wiltord pointed out that American has expanded its service from Miami to six flights a week, up from four in June.

Martinique hosted a group of agents this month, coinciding with the launch of the Norwegian service. "Once they enjoy a taste of Martinique, we're confident they will spread the word and continue the momentum we've built for a strong start in 2016," she said.

West Coast travelers will benefit from American's new weekly overnight, nonstop service between Los Angeles and Montego Bay that began on Dec. 18.

Within the region, regional carrier Liat will begin daily roundtrip service between Barbados and Trinidad on Jan. 18.

Cape Air has partnered with Resorts World Bimini in Bimini, Bahamas, to offer scheduled commercial seaplane service to North Bimini, using Cessna Caravan nine-passenger amphibian aircraft on the route. The Florida-Bimini seaplane service has not been available since 2005. Scheduled flights begin Dec. 21 with two daily flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport and Bimini's North Seaplane Base at Resorts World Bimini. The service will expand to four flights a day beginning Jan. 18, and Cape Air also will operate two daily flights between Watson Island Seaplane Base in Miami and Bimini.

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