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JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has outlined airlift security strategies that will be pursued, to increase arrivals from existing and emerging markets.
“Airlift security is the basis on which arrivals are predicated. People do not swim to Jamaica, you have to have airlifts to get people here and we decided to spend the resources to do just that, and have settled a number of key arrangements with various airline partners,” the Minister told JIS News in an interview.
He pointed out that late last year the sector secured one million seats from across the world for the 2008/09 winter tourist season, with several arrangements being made to secure additional seats for the remainder of the year.
The Minister explained that the uncertainty of the industry would mean some adjustments to those numbers, but the country was still in a very strong position in relation to the rest of the competitors in the region.
Interestingly, he noted that while some airlines are making adjustments downward, new ones are coming on stream.
“Virgin Air is bringing a new flight into Montego Bay in the middle of the year; JetBlue has just announced that they will be coming out of New York in August of this year and plans are being finalised with Blue Panorama, Ibero Jet and Candour, for additional flights to come in during the latter part of the year,” Mr. Bartlett outlined.
Highlighting other airlift initiatives, the Minister pointed out that the sector is seeking to enter into flight arrangements with Air Mexico, to make air connections from Montego Bay to Shanghai, China, via Mexico City.
He added that arrangements have also been made to “drive traffic out of Beijing, through the Vancouver gateway, which was inaugurated in December by way of Air Canada into Montego Bay.”
“We are going to make sure that if the people want to fly, if they want a vacation, there is access to the best destination on earth,” the Minister emphasised, noting that the necessary steps would be taken to ensure that airlift security of the industry is preserved.