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JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that initiatives are being pursued to increase airlift to Jamaica, particularly out of Europe.
The Tourism Minister, who held discussions with airline partners at a travel trade show in Berlin recently, pointed out that an increase in airlift out of Europe will significantly impact visitor arrivals.
“Much of the deficiencies we have had out of Europe and elsewhere have been as a result of the inadequacy of airlifts from those areas,” he told journalists at his office in Kingston recently, where he provided an update on the visit.
The plan, he said, is to “get more air service agreements so that we can have the impact of open skies arrangements having its effects here in Jamaica in a very strong way.”
He informed that critical connections have been made with Air Berlin and Lufthansa to feed from most of the gateways across Europe and condor into Jamaica. “We are looking at three flights weekly from Madrid in Spain and two weekly from Portugal,” the Minister added.
He said also that negotiations have taken place for airlift services from Lisbon in Portugal via Florida to Montego Bay.
The Minister noted that Portugal and Spain are the strong growth areas in Europe that have impacted significantly on the overall visitor arrivals for 2007 with 248 and 140 per cent increases, respectively. Minister Bartlett highlighted that discussions have also started with tour operators in Italy to increase airlift to correct the decline in arrivals from that area to Jamaica.
As it relates to other airline routes, the Minister noted that American Airlines has announced an additional flight out of Fort Lauderdale and will soon introduce flights out of Dallas. “We continue to work with Continental Air, Delta, and all the major airlines coming out of the North American gateway, so as to strengthen our airlift capacity and to ensure that we are able to bring the traffic here,” the Minister informed.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Minister announced the restructuring of Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC) and noted that the entity “will be charged with the responsibility of maintaining the air link support that we have and negotiate new airlift supports with other carriers.”