Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says there is adequate airlift in place for the summer and fall months, which will enable the country to achieve and even surpass growth targets.
“If the performance of May and June are anything to go by, we should be having a good summer,” he said on July 3, in his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He said that the industry is already seeing an increase of over 12,000 seats from the United States for the winter, with further charters still to be finalised.
Delta Airlines will be introducing daily service from John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to Montego Bay (MBJ) as of December 15 of this year, which
Dr. McNeill said “will be a very important move towards alleviating the shortage of seats from New York”.
As it relates to the European market, he said that an additional 17,000 seats are expected from the United Kingdom as a result of Virgin Atlantic’s introduction of a third weekly flight into MBJ from Gatwick, while additional charter lift is being negotiated from Germany, France and Russia.
He informed that Canada is showing a decline in seats for the upcoming winter season because of a major restructuring of the country’s travel industry but noted that discussions are being held with traditional operators to increasing lift into Jamaica out of that market for next winter.
“We will be working to do everything possible to make up that deficit of seats to ensure we can continue the impressive growth that we have been having from this market over the last eight years,” Dr. McNeill said.
The Tourism Minister said that in the case of Latin America, 2012/13 will be the second winter that Jamaica will be benefitting from the COPA flights from Panama.
“Discussions have already started regarding increasing the size of the aircraft that they are utilizing and also to increase the frequency of service,” he said, noting that those talks are going well.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter