Jamaica flight operations nearing pre-pandemic 2019 levels, Southwest Airline execs sayWednesday, September 22, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Southwest Airlines executives on Wednesday at their Dallas, Texas, headquarters informed Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, that their flight operations into Montego Bay in coming weeks and months are very close to 2019 pre-pandemic record year levels, signalling increased demand for destination Jamaica by US travellers.
Southwest, is one of the largest airlines in the United States and is the world's largest low-cost carrier airline. It operates non-stop flights between the major US international airports of Houston (Hobby), Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore Washington, Orlando, Chicago (Midway), St Louis and Montego Bay.
The tourism minister was joined in the meeting with Director of Tourism, Donovan White; Senior Strategist in the Tourism Ministry, Delano Seiveright; and Deputy Director of Tourism for the Americas, Donnie Dawson.
They are holding a series of meetings with a wide swathe of travel industry leaders across Jamaica's largest source markets, the United States and Canada, to increase arrivals to the destination in coming weeks and months as well as foster further investment in the tourism sector.
According to a release from the Ministry of Tourism, Bartlett detailed Jamaica's successful reopening last year in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the establishment of the Resilient Corridor, globally recognised as Covid-safe for visitors and Jamaicans alike, and the importance of the strong partnership between Jamaica and Southwest Airlines in growing the nation's tourism sector in these difficult times.
Southwest's, Senior Director for Strategic Planning & Airline Partnerships, Steven Swan, noted that Jamaica has been “thoughtful”, “clear”, “easy to communicate with” and boasts “good load factors”. The Airline's executives also noted that whilst the Delta variant of Covid-19 has caused a “dip” in domestic and international travel demand, they continue to perform well and are very confident about future growth.