NEW YORK – The St. Lucian community in New York is breathing a sigh of relief since Air Jamaica returned to the island with non-stop flights from the New York area.
Clinton Octave, President of St. Lucia United Association, one of the St. Lucian charitable organizations in the tri-state area, said the thrice weekly service is not only a huge boost to the tourism sector on the island, but also provides an element of convenience to St. Lucians living in the Diaspora. “I think it is a great thing,” said Octave, a retired medical professional. “This service is a plus for St. Lucia and I believe it will do very well,” he said recently after attending a reception hosted by Air Jamaica and the St. Lucia Tourist Board to launch the new service.
“Everyone I speak to says they are happy Air Jamaica is back … and they will certainly take full advantage of the opportunities of going to back to St. Lucia on Air Jamaica – for business and pleasure – with new non-stop service,” said Octave, the president of the 85 year-old organisation which provides scholarships, remits donations to needy causes on the island, and recognises the contributions of accomplished St. Lucians to life in North America and the Caribbean.
Ambassador Julian Hunte
Speaking to reporters and airline officials, St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Julian Hunte praised the Caribbean carrier as a “good corporate citizen” and described its return to St. Lucia as an important aspect of the development of the tourism industry. “In fact, the development of the industry would be incomplete without Air Jamaica playing the vital role that it has played in the past and in fact with increasing responsibility,” he said.
“We are ecstatic, we are delighted, we are thrilled (about Air Jamaica ‘s return) … and I say so unashamedly. When you need people we must be honest (and) bold enough to say we need you. We missed you because you weren’t there for a few months and my goodness we went through hell and even damnation. Thank you very much for returning to St. Lucia. We know there is a market for you, particularly with the new schedule. I know the Tourist Board and officials will cooperate with you fully in terms of making it profitable for you.”
Air Jamaica offers non-stop Lovebird A320 service from New York’s JFK International Airport to the island of St. Lucia, three days a week.
JM092 operates on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, departing New York at 7:00 a.m. and arriving in St. Lucia at 12:35 p.m. On the return leg, JM093 departs St. Lucia at 6:35 p.m. and arrives in New York at 10:15 p.m.
Air Jamaica provides more non-stop flights to Jamaica than any other carrier with more than 270 flights per week from Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York (JFK), Orlando, and Philadelphia in the U.S., Toronto, Canada and from London to Montego Bay and Kingston.
The airline also offers intra-regional service with flights between Jamaica and Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Cuba, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Grenada and St. Lucia. The airline’s code share agreement with Delta Airlines, its joint fare arrangements and compatible schedules with United, and other U.S. carriers, extend its access to more than 150 cities within the Continental U.S.