The United States-based Frontier Airlines made its inaugural flight to the island on Saturday (November 17), touching down at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay en route from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, headed the local delegation welcoming the 88 passengers and six crew members.
He was accompanied by Tourism Director, Donovan White; Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson; and other officials from the Ministry and Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
The passengers were presented with souvenirs while a local Mento band also welcomed them with song.
During a brief ceremony at the airport, Mr. Bartlett indicated that the airline will have two weekly flights to Jamaica, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, throughout the 2018/19 winter tourist season, while expressing the hope that these “will be more frequent in due course”.
The Minister said Frontier’s maiden flight is consistent with Jamaica’s ongoing thrust to further increase US visitor arrivals to Jamaica by expanding the number of gateways facilitating this.
“The arrival of Frontier represents the start of a wave of about eight other such gateways that we are going to be opening up over the next few weeks as we enter into the traditional winter season. We are excited about the prospect of expanding the range of connectivity across the markets that we have. Jamaica continues to be an exciting destination and we are sure that we will continue to grow,” the Minister stated.
In his remarks, Mr. White also underscored the importance of increasing the number of gateways to Jamaica.
Additionally, he said the JTB has a role in the Government’s growth agenda, “and that is to continue to stimulate overseas markets and, in so doing, create opportunities for airlines like Frontier to fly passengers to Jamaica”.
“Having them here from Raleigh, North Carolina on a two flight per week rotation is a great start for the winter season… however, our work continues,” he added.
For his part, Mr. Robinson also emphasized that “the connectivity is important in getting our visitors here”.
He highlighted the work being done by the Ministry and JTB under Mr. Bartlett’s leadership in forging partnerships with new airlines, noting that this “is very important for the tourism product”.
“We look forward to additional new and exciting gateways that will open up,” Mr. Robinson further stated.
Headquartered in Denver Colorado, Frontier is the eighth largest US commercial airline, and has flights to over 100 cities in the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and now Jamaica.