Panamanian airline begins direct service to Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday December 14, 2011- Panamanian airline COPA Airways has commenced twice weekly direct flights between Panama and Montego Bay.
The inaugural service out of the Tocumen International Airport arrived at the Sangster International Airport here on Sunday with approximately 150 passengers.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett underscored the importance of partnerships with such airlines, noting that the emerging tourism markets of South America are being viewed by his ministry as a source of inbound air traffic to be tapped into, to cover eventualities within the traditional markets.
“So, it is against that background that we looked hard and long, to see what was the best medium, what was the best carrier, what provided the best fit for Jamaica, at this time; what was most cost effective and what would give the efficiencies that we require to enable us to make that incursion and to do it quickly,” he stated.
He added that several discussions were held with airlines across South America and, after lengthy deliberations, COPA Airlines was chosen for final negotiations.
“Because COPA had a level of connectivity throughout South America unparallel by any other airline of its size,” he explained.
COPA flights to Jamaica will mean 10,000 additional airline seats for the upcoming Winter Tourist Season.
Jamaica has targeted US$850 million in earnings for the period with a 4.7 percent increase in visitor arrivals.
With a fleet of 73 planes, COPA Airlines is projecting that nine new destinations would be added to its present route network by year end.
This would provide a total of 293 daily flights to 49 cities in 28 countries across the American continent.