NEW YORK, United States, Thursday April 28, 2011 – JetBlue Airways is now seeking government approval to launch an intra-Caribbean service that would compete with regional airline LIAT on its San Juan-St. Maarten route.
If it gets the green light, nonstop daily flights will begin on November 17.
The new service will be JetBlue’s second intra-Caribbean route, with existing service between San Juan and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“It is of high importance to improve regional air access in the Caribbean for the benefit of all the economies of the region,” said Chief Development Officer in Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, Jaime Lopez-Diaz.
“This new JetBlue service is a perfect example of how, working together, the region can increase the supply of air traffic.”
Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico, Jose Perez-Riera, said increasing air access to Puerto Rico is essential for the country’s tourism industry, commercial development, and homeport cruise market and it was therefore grateful for JetBlue’s support.
“This new service strengthens our position as a hub of the Caribbean and is the result of a successful working relationship that we have maintained with our partner airlines,” he said.
The pending new service is the value airline’s third non-stop destination out of St. Maarten.
The country’s Director of Tourism Regina LaBega said the partnership with JetBlue had changed the landscape of St. Maarten’s tourism industry.
She pointed out that airfares from key source markets, for example, have become more affordable, therefore resulting in a larger volume of visitors to the destination as well as a higher visitor expenditure on island.
“The new SJU-SXM service by JetBlue…will certainly boost traffic in both directions, consequently contributing positively to our economy,” LaBega said.
Chief Commercial Officer at the New York-based airline, Robin Hayes, said the support of the Puerto Rican community has been remarkable and the company looked forward to continuing to provide them more options for travel throughout the Caribbean region.
The JetBlue service to St. Maarten from San Juan will be operated by Embraer E190 aircraft.
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