MBJ Boosts Traffic 4% To A Record 3.9m In 2016 At Sangster International Airport
Montego Bay, Jamaica – Sangster International Airport, Jamaica’s leading gateway operated by MBJ Airports, handled a record 3.9m passengers in 2016, a 4% increase over 2015.
New routes, additional frequencies on existing routes in response to an uptick in demand and greater load factors among several airlines calling on Sangster International Airport contributed to the increase in traffic.
The US continues to represent the leading source market, accounting for 69% of total throughput at Sangster in 2016. Flights arriving from and departing to the US carried 6.8% more passengers in 2016 than the previous year.
Canada continued to be the second-most important source market for Sangster in 2016, representing 17% of overall traffic. Flights arriving from and departing to Canada carried 4.4% fewer passengers in 2016 relative to 2015. The decline in passengers out of Canada, especially those originating in Western Canada, is understood to be attributable to economic deceleration related to low oil prices and a weaker Canadian dollar.
Traffic originating from and destined for the EU grew 19% in 2016, the highest rate of growth for any region, and accounted for 12.47% of total traffic at the airport.
Traffic growth in 2016 met management’s expectations, which had been based on economic conditions in key markets, available hotel room inventory and market prices.
MBJ management anticipates traffic through Sangster International Airport will continue to grow in 2017 and will exceed 4m passengers for the year.
Improved political and economic ties between the US and Cuba are not expected to have a significant impact on traffic at Sangster, though Cuba continues to receive an increasing number of visitors from the US via direct, regularly scheduled commercial flights.
Nonetheless, Sangster will continue to be an important gateway into Cuba for multi-destination tourists, with several carriers, including Cayman Airways, Aerogaviota, interCaribbean Airways and Copa Airlines, offering direct or connecting service to the island.
MBJ continues to build on its strong relationships with airlines to ensure Sangster International Airport and Jamaica are at the forefront of new or expanded route development initiatives. Ongoing improvement of the airport infrastructure will ensure Montego Bay continues to be a preferred destination for the world’s leading carriers.
“We are embarking on a number of key projects that represent the next phase of development for the airport,” said MBJ Airports CEO, Rafael Echevarne. “In terms of aeronautical infrastructure, we are addressing some major ramp and taxiway works, which will ensure the long-term integrity and quality of these key facilities. We will also start work on a runway extension project,” he noted.
Passengers transiting through Sangster International Airport will also benefit from an even greater commercial experience thanks to improvements slated for 2017. “We have engaged the world’s leading airport commercial advisory firm to help us plan retail development,” said Echevarne, adding, “new architectural style and design standards will be introduced, alongside new retail concepts with a strong Jamaican theme.”
Improvements are in the works for the check-in hall as well. “We will also undertake the renovation of the ticketing area, giving it a more stylish and modern look and feel,” Echevarne said.