[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – Jamaica is being positioned to be the major aviation hub connecting the Middle East and the Levant countries of the Near East to the Caribbean and South American region. Extensive discussions are currently underway. With the second round of talks being held recently in Dubai with Emirates Airline, the largest carrier in the Middle East.
Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett had first-hand discussions with Chairman of Dubai World and Emirates Airline, His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
“The objective was to follow-up on our first meeting, which was very positive. As well as to get a second response at the level of Chairman to enable Jamaica to determine the possibility of a very early connectivity”. Minister Bartlett explained.
He added that “we were able to provide very solid data. Which indicated that Jamaica had a presence in the Middle East that was quite significant. Even was strong enough to create a marketing arrangement that would allow for travel into the island. But more so that we would have abilities to move traffic from Jamaica into the rest of the region.”
Discussions in the Middle East
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon Kamina Johnson-Smith and Director of Tourism, Donovan White also participated in the meeting. The latest round of meetings comes on the heels of recent discussions with other carriers including Saudia and Qatar Airways.
Minister Bartlett also indicated that the Jamaican delegation also had follow-up discussions with officials from Royal Jordanian Airlines. “We had a further meeting with representatives from the Royal Jordanian Airlines in Amman. Which was our second meeting, following the one we had with the Chairman and his team,” he outlined.
He explained that steps are being taken to utilize Jordan’s capital as a major hub. “There is a very strong move to use Amman as a secondary gateway. In order to to gain access to countries such as Turkey, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and nations in that region, which are called the Levant countries. The data supports what we are doing. The Jamaica Tourist Board will follow-up with the technical teams. Including those that are dealing with route planning and commercial arrangements, to move the process forward.”