JetBlue Airlines, one of Jamaica’s longstanding airline partners, recently debuted direct flights from two major United States gateways into the Sangster International Airport (SIA), Montego Bay, St. James.
A delegation of local tourism officials and stakeholders were on hand to welcome the cheering passengers and crew from JetBlue Flight 107 from out of Newark Liberty Airport, New Jersey and JetBlue Flight 549 from out of Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina.
Both flights were also met with a water salute from MBJ Emergency Response Service firefighting units, while Jamaican drummers welcomed the arriving passengers.
Giselle Cortes, Director International Airports at JetBlue, said that notwithstanding the airline’s longstanding relationship with Jamaica: “Montego Bay is part of JetBlue’s broader plan to generate cash and capture traffic on new, nonstop routes.”
“We have selected routes where our low fares and award-winning experience will be noticed. These new routes will solidify our leading position in the Caribbean, grow JetBlue’s New York City presence in Newark and provide an additional connection to the Southeast,” she added.
For his part, Head of Revenue and Planning at Jet Blue, Scott Laurence, added that: This is the latest example of JetBlue’s ability to be nimble and play offense as we quickly adjust to new customer behaviours and booking patterns.”
“This latest series of new routes – even in the current environment – advance our revised network strategy, returns more aircraft to the skies, and doubles down on our ability to generate more cash sooner. It’s a huge boost for many Caribbean destinations that have seen a reduction in airlift amid the ongoing pandemic.”
An elated MBJ Airports Limited’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shane Munroe said that not only is he pleased with the addition of this new service but added that “this is a noteworthy realization at a time like this and demonstrates the strong appeal of Jamaica as a tourist destination.”
“We welcome the addition of these new routes and look forward to the continued growth of JetBlue operations at MBJ,” the airport’s CEO added.
Munroe also pointed out that the Raleigh flights will be twice weekly in December.
The Newark flights, he added, will operate Wednesdays and Saturdays only in December.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations Joy Roberts said the two direct flights from the two major US gateways will be major plus for Jamaica, especially now with the tourism sector trying to get back to a. semblance of normality.
“I believe that in adversity there is always some good and today we saw evidence of that,” she pointed out.
“We have a lot of our Diaspora that lives in the Newark and Raleigh areas and who will be pleased with this new development. It is a good look for our tourism product at this time and JetBlue…I might add…continues to solidify itself in the Jamaican market.
JetBlue is New York’s hometown Airline, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan.
JetBlue carries more than 35 million customers a year to 100 cities in the US, Caribbean and Latin America with an average of 925 daily flights.
MBJ Airports Limited, operator of Sangster International Airport, connects Jamaica to more than 60 international destinations. A record of 4.7m passengers used the airport in 2019.