Jamaica will welcome non-stop flights from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, beginning Monday, November 14.
The flights, being offered by the Dominican Republic’s new flagship airline, Arajet, will be available twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays, with round-trip fares as low as US$252.
Speaking at a press briefing on November 11, at the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board in Kingston, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said that the connectivity by air between the two countries is more than a game changer.
“For us, this is not just a game changer, this is a Red Letter Day in the life of tourism aviation in the northern Caribbean, because we in the north are close to each other physically [and] geographically, but we are distant from each other [in regard to] connectivity,” said Bartlett.
Prior to direct flights being available, travel time from one country to the other would go up to as many as 20 hours.
Bartlett further explained that the decision to enable improved connectivity between Jamaica and the Dominican Republic “is part of a broader and wider strategy of integrating the Caribbean more, and of also creating backwards connections between Central America and South America”.
He also pointed out that air connectivity and the movement of people will be supported by investments.
“One of the real positives that will flow from this engagement is that it will bring to the respective destinations that energy for investment because there will be ease of access… but the key realisation is that within two hours you can be looking at your asset, making decisions not virtually but face to face and surveying the extent of your own investments and assets in the areas,” the minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Jamaica, Angie Martinez Tejera, also hailed the ability that both countries now have to connect by air, as a “game changer”.
“This development is an important diplomatic achievement, and will strengthen investments, commerce [and] tourism, but most important, in getting our people closer together,” she said.
Martinez Tejera thanked the team at Arajet Airline for making the connection a reality, noting that it has been a priority for her since being appointed.
For his part, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Ararjet, Victor Pacheco M?ndez, who joined virtually, said that the airline aims to “bridge the lack of connectivity and the lack of low fares in the region”.
He said that Arajet’s decision to offer direct flights to Jamaica forms part of the plan to launch 54 routes from Santo Domingo.
The CEO noted that Arajet has been in operation for one year and began serving 16 of its targeted destinations within the first 40 days of its operation.