ROAD TOWN, Bermuda, November 27, 2008 – United States carrier JetBlue Airways will increase its seat capacity between Bermuda and New York by 50 per cent in the first quarter of next year, even if only for a short time, Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr Ewart Brown has announced.
The added capacity will be initiated on February 12 and continue until April, with the use of a larger Airbus 320 aircraft which carries 150 passengers, compared to the 100 which are now accommodated on the Embraer 190 aircraft.
“This is good news for us. A move like this shows confidence in the potential of Bermuda tourism in the near future,” said Premier Brown. “As Transport Minster, I am especially pleased because JetBlue is a trend setter in the aviation industry. When JetBlue makes a decision like this, other carriers sit up and take notice.”
The move is seen as particularly encouraging for the tourism sector in the island, since the global economic crisis has caused a fall off in demand for travel, resulting in some carriers cutting back on flights and seats to some Caribbean destinations.
“JetBlue believes that a New York-Bermuda service remains a viable opportunity for them and as such, following discussions back and forth, its decision to increase lift out of JFK (John F Kennedy International Airport) to the tune of 3,500 additional seats beginning in February, is a step toward ensuring that there is an ample supply of affordable capacity in the market during the winter and early spring,” said General Manager of the island’s L.F. Wade International Airport, Aaron Adderley, who is also the chief negotiator for Bermuda’s commercial air routes.
Earlier this year American Airlines eliminated its second daily flight between Bermuda and JFK in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs. That resulted in a considerable reduction in capacity from New York, Bermuda tourism’s number one gateway market.
Officials say the increased capacity provided by JetBlue next year will partially make up for that.