Jamaica welcomed, for the first time, the arrival of Air Canada Rouge flight from Toronto, with 130 passengers on board, at the Norman Manley International Airport, on Monday, July 1.
Kingston was selected as the lead destination for this new airline from Air Canada, which will offer daily flights into Kingston from Monday to Friday.
Welcoming the airline, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the country is honoured that Kingston was chosen as the first destination for the new vacation airline from Air Canada.
“Today, the ties between Jamaica and Canada are even deeper and more fruitful. Canada imports almost $275 million in goods from Jamaica every year, and in return, Canada sends us vacationers looking for warmth from both our people and our resorts,” Dr. McNeill said.
In 2012, Jamaica welcomed more than 403,000 Canadians, representing a steady increase for the past nine years in a row.
“With today’s arrival of the inaugural Rouge flight, we expect that increase in visitors from Canada to continue for many years to come. The ties between Toronto and Kingston are many and varied, and we congratulate Air Canada Rouge for not only recognizing that, but strengthening it,” the Minister said.
He added that the arrival of Rouge has significance for the expansion of the country’s tourist offerings.
The Minister also noted that Canadians are very familiar with destinations like Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but less so with Port Antonio and Kingston.
“We see the arrival of Rouge in Kingston as an opportunity to introduce more Canadians to the unique and often unexplored pleasures of our capital city and Port Antonio, Jamaica’s most eco-friendly town. Plus, the expansion and improvements to the Norman Manley International Airport will also contribute substantially to this goal,” Dr. McNeill said.
For his part, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada Leisure, Michael Friisdhal, noted that Air Canada Rouge will increase the number of seats to Kingston.
“We will also be announcing a November 1 service to Montego Bay, which will also be another first as it will be the first Caribbean destination to receive Air Canada Rouge wide bodied service with our new Boeing 767 300 ER equipment. This is a tremendous achievement and will significantly increase our capacity to Jamaica from several Canadian gateways,” Mr. Friisdhal said.
He also added that this summer, flight seats to Kingston will increase from Toronto by 15 per cent.
“Our flights this summer to Montego Bay will continue to be operated by Air Canada and capacity will remain more or less like prior years. However, for winter we will increase seats into Kingston from Toronto by a further 13 per cent and with the addition of our Rouge Boeing 767 to Montego Bay, our capacity from Toronto will increase by 56 per cent,” Mr. Friisdhal stated.
He also informed that capacity from Ottawa, Canada to Montego Bay will also increase this upcoming winter at an estimated 24 per cent and capacity from Montreal, Winnipeg and Halifax to Montego Bay will remain largely in line with last year’s capacity.
“So in total, Air Canada Rouge will be increasing Air Canada’s capacity for next winter by 35 per cent, which is a tremendous commitment to the Jamaican market. What’s more is we also plan to add new gateways linking Vancouver and Calgary in western Canada to Jamaica in the near term,” Mr. Friisdhal said.
Air Canada Rouge is the stylishly affordable new leisure airline from Air Canada. As a wholly owned Air Canada subsidiary, it’s part of Air Canada’s newly integrated leisure group that also include Air Canada Vacations.
Air Canada serves close to 35 million passengers annually and provides direct passenger service to more than 175 destinations on five continents.
Contact: Latonya Linton