On the transportation front, the Caribbean region is getting some substantial new airlift, with several carriers announcing plans to add new routes or increase their service to several of the region's islands. The following destinations stand to gain visitors - tourists and conference groups alike - from the increased number of flights.
JetBlue has announced plans to expand the airline's existing seasonal Saturday service, out of Newark International Airport in New Jersey, to a full year-round schedule beginning May 4. The move will complement service to and from the carrier's other three focus cities - New York, Boston and Fort Lauderdale.
Starting April 29, United Airlines resumed daily service to Bermuda from Newark International Airport.
Earlier this month at the World Travel & Tourism Council held in Seville, Spain, Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that the Spanish carrier Iberia is expanding its seasonal winter flights to Puerto Rico to year-round service.
"Iberia has been an unwavering ally of Puerto Rico, and we are pleased to see that its commitment to the island is redoubled and strengthened today," said Rosselló. "Having a direct flight throughout the year is a strong indicator that tourism in Puerto Rico is growing and that the leadership of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company is generating results in the development of air routes." According to the PRTC, the added airlift will have an estimated economic impact of $7.4 million for the island.
In February of this year, budget carrier Spirit Airlines expanded its service to Puerto Rico, adding a second daily nonstop flight from Philadelphia, while Delta Air Lines recently added a daily Saturday nonstop from Detroit.
On June 6, American Airlines will add a second daily nonstop flight from Miami to the island. Departing Miami at 8:45 a.m. and arriving in St. Lucia at 11:21 a.m., the new flight will give travelers a full day to enjoy, said tourism officials.
U.S. Virgin Islands
According to Joseph Boschulte, tourism commissioner for the USVI (https://www.visitusvi.com/node/1272), United Airlines is preparing to launch daily nonstop flights between Houston and St. Thomas this summer, and the carrier also is considering plans for new and additional flights to the island, as well as to St. Croix, in 2020. Boschulte added that American Airlines likewise is considering adding capacity out of Chicago, Dallas and Miami, as well as potentially growing airlift out of its Charlotte, N.C., hub in the near future.
"We have had some very important discussions about the future of airlift to the territory and look forward to following up with our airline partners to ensure that we have adequate flights into our islands, especially as more accommodations come on line in the months ahead," said Boschulte in a statement after recent meetings with executives of the two airlines.