JetBlue Airlines, one of the island’s longstanding airline partners, on Saturday (November 21), debuted direct flights from two major United States (US) gateways into the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James.
A delegation of tourism officials and stakeholders were on hand to welcome the passengers and crew from JetBlue Flight 107 from Newark Liberty Airport, New Jersey and JetBlue Flight 549 out of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, which came in at 1:42 p. m and 2:14 p. m, respectively.
Both flights were greeted with a water salute from the MBJ Emergency Response Service firefighting units, against the backdrop of entertainment by local drummers.
Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations, Joy Roberts, said the direct flights from the two major US gateways will be a major plus for Jamaica, especially with the tourism sector looking to get back to normality.
“We have a lot of our Diaspora that live in the Newark and Raleigh areas and who will be pleased with this new development. It is a good look for our tourism at this time and JetBlue, I might add, continues to solidify itself in the Jamaican market,” she noted.
MBJ Airports Limited’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shane Munroe, in his remarks, said that the flights demonstrate the strong appeal of Jamaica as a tourist destination.
“We welcome the addition of these new routes and look forward to the continued growth of JetBlue’s operations at MBJ,” he added.
Director of International Airports at JetBlue, Giselle Cortes, for her part, said that Montego Bay is part of JetBlue’s broader plan to “solidify our leading position in the Caribbean.”
Head of Revenue and Planning at Jet Blue, Scott Laurence, added that the flights into the island will create “a huge boost for many Caribbean destinations that have seen a reduction in airlift amid the ongoing pandemic.”
The Raleigh flights will be on Saturdays only in November and twice weekly in December, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The Newark flights will operate Wednesdays and Saturdays only in November and Saturdays and Sundays in December.
JetBlue is New York’s hometown airline and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan.
JetBlue carries more than 35 million customers a year to 100 cities in the US, Caribbean and Latin America with an average of 925 daily flights.
MBJ Airports Limited, operator of Sangster International Airport, connects Jamaica to more than 60 international destinations. A record of 4.7 million passengers used the airport in 2019.