ST JAMES, Jamaica— Minister Edmund Bartlett on Thursday welcomed American Airlines' game- changing move to operate two weekly non-stop flights between the Miami International Airport and the Ian Fleming International Airport, outside of Ocho Rios, starting November this year.
The announcement comes following a recent meeting between senior executives of American Airlines and several Government and private sector officials in Montego Bay.
The meeting involved Bartlett, Transport Minister Audley Shaw; Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart; Director of Tourism Donovan White; Senior Advisor and Strategist Delano Seiveright and Sandals Resorts International Senior Executive, Gary Sadler.
The flights will be operated by an Envoy E-175 aircraft, which can seat between 76 to 88 passengers in business and economy class and operate non-stop between Miami and Ocho Rios on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Bartlett expressed confidence that the flight will influence other airlines to fly to the Ian Fleming International Airport.
"This is a very valuable addition to the aviation needs of Jamaica, with non-stop service between the United States and our country's third international airport. It is a great start and will encourage other airlines to fly into the Oracabessa/Ocho Rios area. It will also be a huge plus to the region and also assist greatly in boosting tourism development potential for St Mary and Portland and connecting many members of our Diaspora closer to home,” Bartlett said.
American Airlines is the world's largest airline when measured by fleet size, scheduled passengers carried, and revenue passenger mile and is the largest mover of people in and out of Jamaica. The airline operates multiple daily non-stop flights between several US cities including Miami, Philadelphia, New York JFK, Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, Boston and Jamaica.
The airline also recently announced new weekly non-stop flights between Austin, Texas and Montego Bay, starting June.