Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Welcomes New JetBlue Flights to Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaica ‘s Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett has welcomed Monday’s announcement by JetBlue Airways that the company will be expanding its operations in Jamaica with the addition of new flights. The expanded service will see the introduction of two daily nonstop flights between Kingston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Speaking at a ceremony in Kingston where the announcement was made, Minister Bartlett said “I welcome JetBlue’s expanded service from Fort Lauderdale to Kingston which is set to begin next April. The decision by the airline to increase its flights sends a strong signal to the world which points to Jamaica’s stability for investment in the tourism trade.” Minister Bartlett also revealed that JetBlue is one of the fastest growing airlines locally and lauded company officials in attendance, including JetBlue’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Robin Hayes, for their success to date. He outlined that “JetBlue is by far the fastest growing airline in Jamaica, as at the end of its first year in operation locally it secured 2 percent of the market. Last year it held 6 percent of the local market and is now trending to 10 percent of market-share.”

Minister Bartlett expressed that “JetBlue’s expansion in Jamaica puts our country in good stead to have a robust summer in 2012. We are already anticipating a strong 2011/2012 Winter Tourist Season with some 1,044,137 air seats already secured, which represents a 5.6 percent increase over 2010, and a 4.7 percent increase over the 2011 winter season. The Minister emphasised that “with these seats Jamaica is set to welcome 769,385 visitors for the winter, which will represent a 5 percent increase over the same period last year. In terms of cruise arrivals, we expect a whopping 48.4 percent increase in winter 2012 over last winter, which translates to some 583,186 cruise ship passengers. This will bring the total number of visitors projected to arrive in Jamaica for the winter season to some 1.352 million.”

The Minister continued that “Jamaica, which is JetBlue’s first English Speaking destination in the Caribbean, has benefited tremendously from the airline’s activities here. It has contributed tremendously to job creation and security, as well as the transfer of wealth from the United States and other countries while ensuring that the country remains the most connected destination anywhere in the Caribbean.”

Minister Bartlett emphasized that “over the past four years, as a team we have fought tooth and nail to ensure that today Jamaica has airlift security, and more so that this is achieved with the support of world rated airlines, such as JetBlue.” He added that “JetBlue is making it easier than ever for travelers from key markets such as the US to access Jamaica and I commend them for providing this valuable service which is vital to maintaining our strong position in the US market.”

JetBlue Airways made its inaugural flight to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay from the JFK International Airport in New York in May 2009. The airline then expanded its service to Jamaica later that year when it introduced the New York to Kingston route. Come April 30, 2012, JetBlue will be introducing twice daily nonstop service between Kingston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the second non-stop destination to be served from Kingston. 

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