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JM | May 24, 2022

Airlines being incentivised to fly from Hartford to Jamaica

/ Our Today

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US$2 million being offered as an incentive

Durrant Pate/Contributor

In an Our Today follow-up, airlines in America are being incentivised to establish nonstop flight service between Hartford, Connecticut and Jamaica.

Following a years-long campaign to establish the service, proponents for the nonstop flight service have received a boost in the recently enacted state budget, where a US$2-million allocation has been devoted to incentivise airlines to take up the vacuum.

The state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is receiving up to US$2 million to support the establishment of direct flights to Jamaica from Hartford, Connecticut.

CARIBBEAN TRADE COUNCIL ADVOCATES FOR DIRECT FLIGHTS

A spokesman for DECD explained that the money can be used to incentivise an airline to develop a route between Connecticut and the island destination but cautioned that it is still too early to say how the funding will be spent.

The Hartford-based Caribbean Trade Council has long advocated for direct flights between Bradley International Airport and Jamaica, citing the large concentration of Jamaican-Americans living in Connecticut.

Connecticut reportedly has the fifth largest population of people from the Jamaican diaspora in the US.

State officials in support of the move

State Representative Bobby Gibson, D-Bloomfield, vice chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, who is pushing for direct flights to Jamaica from Hartford, declared: “It’s desperately needed.”

Some people have compared the funding for the Jamaica flights to the subsidies the state gave to Aer Lingus to establish flight service between Bradley and Dublin, Ireland.

State Senator Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, co-chair of the legislative Appropriations Committee.

State Senator Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, co-chair of the legislative Appropriations Committee, said the intention is for the US$2 million to be “part of an incentive package to encourage flights to Jamaica”.

Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, which owns and operates Bradley, said incentives are becoming more common as competition for airline routes intensifies.

The airport authority typically offers to waive two years’ worth of fees and charges to airlines considering operating at Bradley. Federal Aviation Administration rules limit what airports can provide but state agencies and economic development agencies can offer airline companies revenue guarantees.

Typically how it works, Dillon explained, is that an airline determines how much revenue it needs to operate a particular route and the stage agency makes up the difference if the airline doesn’t meet that target.

“There’s a significant population that we believe would take advantage of a flight to Jamaica as well as the tourism component of it.”

Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority

Jamaica is “a market that we are frequently asked about,” Dillon said, noting that the destination is among the top international destinations the airport authority is actively pursuing.

According to him, “there’s a significant population that we believe would take advantage of a flight to Jamaica as well as the tourism component of it.

“We think it is a very viable route.”

Flight data from the Bradley service area shows that, on average, 150 passengers per day back and forth between Jamaica — and that’s before any additional level of stimulation.

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