Over 1 million air seats have been secured for this tourism winter season which begins on December 15th to the end of April 2014, according to John Lynch (Director of Tourism).
This, according to Lynch, is 40,000 more seats than what was secured for the last winter tourist season and sufficient amount for meeting the targeted no of visitors that the island is preparing to welcome.
“All the fundamentals are in for a great winter, and also as we move into the spring and the summer,” Lynch said, adding “what we have to do is now work on the fall because that is always a challenge.”
Lynch, who provided an inform on the available airlift for the season at the Sunday Observer’s Press Club last Thursday, said that a no of airlines will be escalating their flights to the island for the winter season and beyond.
The UK-based British Airways, he said, will start a 4th flight from Gatwick International Airport into Kingston starting next May, while Thomas Cook Airlines, which operated fortnightly only for this summer, will now be offering weekly flights all year round.
Two years ago, Sweden Airways, which is a major carrier of passengers to Jamaica, was acquired by the massive US domestic carrier Southwest Airlines.
“We will begin to see the Southwest tails in Jamaica starting about May,” Lynch announced.
JetBlue, which now flies out of Fort Lauderdale into Kingston, according to Lynch, has also determined to establish a service from that US gateway into the resort city of Montego Bay.
Lynch said that the Old Beaches Sandy Bay, which was newly acquired by Karisma Hotels and Resorts, is Tui’s top product and the reason for them putting on a 5th dreamliner aircraft to Jamaica. This, he said, will go to a part of the market that Jamaica has never gone to before.
A hot news release stated that Karisma Hotels & Resorts –operator of 13 all-inclusive hotels and resorts in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and Negril, Jamaica — newly signed a tactical partnership with Tui Travel.
With the latest merger of American Airlines and US Airways, Lynch said that it is not yet clear what this will mean for Jamaica, as both airlines fly out of a joint five US gateways( Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia and Charlotte) – into Jamaica.
Air Canada, Lynch said, has come back powerfully with its luxury carrier, Rouge..
As a result, Lynch said that Jamaica is expecting “a good winter from that market.”
“Our capacity in the winter in terms of new investment, the product that excites the tour operators and the airlines to put on extra capacity … that is where we need to go and our focus now is on the capacity to grow,” he said.