JIS News

Florida-based Spirit Airlines has announced plans to provide non-stop service between Fort Lauderdale and Jamaica’s two main airports beginning later this year.
Speaking at a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on May 19, Spirit Airlines’ Vice President of Sales and Distribution, Marc Cavaliere, revealed that Spirit’s service to Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport would commence on December 15, with two flights per day, while service to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay should begin on November 10, with one flight per day.
The airline will also offer connecting service to both destinations from Atlantic City, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Providence/Boston and Washington D.C.
Mr. Cavaliere told reporters that his company was enthusiastic and excited to come to Jamaica as there were several opportunities for success in this market and Spirit Airlines was working to become the leading low-cost carrier to the Caribbean.
“We are most honoured to be the first low-cost airline to come into Jamaica. We are very proud of the economic benefit model that the low-cost airline has brought to the cities that we have recently entered as we continue to grow the airline. We think the benefits will be manifold and will be shared mutually,” he said.
Continuing, the Vice President noted that as has happened in many other locations that Spirit presently flies to, individuals who previously could not afford to travel to certain destinations have started travelling with the airline and as such his company was directly assisting in tourism growth. He said similar success was anticipated for Jamaica.
“But, beyond the tourism market, we also see tremendous opportunities in working with our partners here to foster air service development that will lend itself to lower fares, more convenient schedules to and from more places in the United States,” he informed.
Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, who was guest speaker at the function, welcomed Spirit Airlines to Jamaica on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, and noted that the introduction of the carrier into the Jamaican market came at a time when the island’s airports and other gateway facilities, as well as the tourism infrastructure were undergoing major expansion and development, and as such the presence of the airline held prospects for significant benefits to Jamaica.
“The decision by Spirit Airlines represents the first offering of year-round service by a major low-cost carrier to Jamaica. It has been established that low-fare, low-cost airlines have been proven to stimulate air traffic and encourage commerce,” said Minister Pickersgill.
Continuing, he lauded the airline for taking the initiative to come to Jamaica to offer its service. This move, he said, signalled the company’s confidence in Jamaica and should also redound to the company’s benefit.
“We have no doubt that ongoing development works at both the Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports have facilitated your decision, which underscores the potential and viability of the Jamaican travel market…I trust that this new venture into the Jamaican marketplace will represent another successful dimension on your growth curve and a profitable experience for all concerned,” the Transport Minister asserted.
This sentiment was echoed by Earl Richards, President of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), who stated that the arrival of this new passenger service was indeed “a signal of confidence in the potential for growth in business and tourism between our countries.”
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of MBJ Airports Limited, Jorge Sales disclosed that his organisation was excited at the prospect of business with Spirit Airlines and observed that the introduction and presence of the carrier would “help to continually grow the tourism activity in the island.”
“For MBJ Airports Limited and the Sangster International Airport, this event is happening at the right time as we are in the process of opening our new terminal building. By the time the first flight from Spirit lands in Montego Bay, we should already be operating the new building on a partial basis, and only two months ahead of having the entire facility fully operational,” he said.
Spirit Airlines is the largest privately-held airline in the United States, which provides service to 20 cities including Atlantic City, New Jersey; Cancun, Mexico; Chicago/O’hare; Detroit; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Nassau, Bahamas; New York/La Guardia; Providence/Boston, New England; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Washington, D.C./Reagan National; and the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers.
“Probably within the next two or three weeks we hope to be announcing a number of other cities in the United States that we will start service to either just before or at the same time we start flying to Jamaica, such that those cities will immediately be added into the offerings of what we can either offer to Jamaican residents flying North, or to bring new tourists South,” Mr. Cavaliere revealed.
Also on hand to welcome Spirit Airlines to Jamaica were Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie and Vice Chairman of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, D. Tony Williamson.

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