Bartlett upbeat about more flights from South America

Monday, April 23, 2018

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SANTIAGO, Chile — Ed Bartlett is upbeat that Jamaica could start welcoming non-stop flights from Peru after a meeting with senior executives of LATAM, the largest airline conglomerate in Latin America.

“The meeting is the strongest signal that the Latin American market is now going to come into its own. We could see three flights per week between their Lima, Peru hub and Montego Bay, Jamaica within 12 months,” Bartlett, the tourism minister, said after the recent meeting at LATAM's global headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

“With Copa Airlines increasing service into Montego Bay to a daily flight, coupled with their four flights a week into Kingston, LATAM's entry would increase to 14 the number of non-stop flights out of Latin America into Jamaica every week,” Bartlett said.

“The implications of these increased flights will be significant for the expansion of growth in South America, and we could very well see my projection of 50,000 to 60,000 visitors out of the region by 2020,” added Bartlett who is in South America on a business trip.

Latin America is a large market with a rapidly growing middle class keen on travelling the world. Data show that Argentina and Chile account for the bulk of tourist arrivals from Latin America into Jamaica, with approximately 10,000 visitors from both nations. However, limited, cost-effective and seamless air connectivity has been a hindrance to attracting more tourists from South America to Jamaica.

“LATAM is Latin America's leading airline group, with one of the largest route networks in the world; offering air service to around 140 destinations in 25 countries, and is present in six domestic markets in Latin America — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, in addition to operations elsewhere around the globe. It operates more than 1,200 flights per day and transports 67 million passengers per year,” noted the tourism ministry's senior advisor and strategist, Delano Seiveright, who also attended the meeting.

LATAM has one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the world. The average age of its 322 aircraft is seven years and they feature the latest variants, including the Boeing 787, Airbus A350, A321, and A320neo.

Bartlett will also be holding discussions with Avianca, the largest airline in Colombia and second-largest in Latin America, to broker a partnership which could further increase weekly flights out of South America.

Discussions with other major tourism stakeholders, including tour operators travel-focused TV, radio, print and online media; Government officials and influential travel agents, are also included in his visit.

Bartlett is expected to return to Jamaica on April 26.

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