WESTERN Air, the largest privately-owned airline in The Bahamas, will begin direct flights from Jamaica to The Bahamas on April 12, 2010. The airline has been granted schedule and charter licences by the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority to operate daily flights from Kingston and Montego Bay to Nassau, Bahamas. The airline was also granted schedule and charter licences by the Government of the Bahamas and its Civil Aviation to operate flights from The Bahamas to Jamaica.
The Kingston to Nassau flights are scheduled to commence on Monday, April 12, 2010 while the Montego Bay route will begin in May 2010. Initially, Western Air will fly between Kingston and Nassau from Sundays to Fridays and between Montego Bay and Nassau twice weekly on Fridays and Sundays.
Flying direct from Jamaica to The Bahamas eliminates the need to travel through the United States and requiring a United States visa. This new route for Western Air is a welcomed move for local travelers who would otherwise have no direct flights to and from Jamaica, as Air Jamaica plans to discontinue service on April 11, 2010. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rex Rolle says they intend to start service the day after so there would be no disruption in air travel between Nassau and Jamaica. In addition to operations and schedules, Western Air is also keeping the transition as smooth as possible with airfare and baggage rates comparative to that of Air Jamaica.
Rex Rolle said this new venture is very important as the company expands. "Jamaica is a destination we have been pursuing for the past two years now. Western Air originally applied for the routes in 2008, but only received word from the Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority, back in January, after Air Jamaica announced they were discontinuing service to The Bahamas."
In the future the company hopes to provide employment opportunities for Jamaicans. "There will be opportunities for employment because of these new routes," said Rolle. "In the future Western Air is expecting to hire Jamaicans to work between Montego Bay and Kingston airports."
Initially, the Kingston and Montego Bay routes will be serviced by Western Air SAAB 340A 33 seater aircrafts. Flights will be operated in Nassau from the existing Air Jamaica ticket counter and in Jamaica, flights will be serviced by Jamaica Dispatch Services at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Flights will depart Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau at 9:30 am and arrive in Kingston and Montego Bay at 11:30 am. Flights will depart Kingston and Montego Bay at 12:30 pm arriving in Nassau at 2:30 pm.
Tickets can be purchased in Jamaica from Total Travel Services, 10 Waterloo Road, Kingston or from Jamaica Dispatch Service at the Norman Manley International Airport. Once flights commence in Montego Bay, tickets can also be purchased from Jamaica Dispatch Services at the Sangster International Airport.