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Government And American Airlines Reach Agreement To Maintain Service From Los Angeles And Baltimore

Puerto Rico government makes great strides toward preserving air access to island

eTN  Jul 22, 2008

San Juan, Puerto Rico – The Puerto Rico Port Authority and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) announced today that conversations with American Airlines have resulted in the safeguarding of the airline's service from Los Angeles and Baltimore to the island.

"Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila asked us to seek out alternatives that will help the Island brave the crisis faced by the airline industry today, and these are the results of this effort," said Fernando J. Bonilla, Secretary of State and executive director, Puerto Rico Port Authority. "We've been able to preserve American Airlines service from Los Angeles and Baltimore to Puerto Rico, which is a resounding victory for the Island."

Secretary Bonilla added that as another proactive measure to safeguard air access to Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Port Authority has extended its decision to not increase tarifs at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan for another year. At the same time, an incentive program is in the works to lower tarifs at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport by offering airlines discounts of 15 to 45 percent on rent, landing fees and passenger fees if airlines can increase passenger traffic during the island's less busy months, which are September, October and February.

Said Terestella González Denton, executive director, PRTC, "Since 2005 we have worked very closely with the airline industry to integrate our airline partners in our efforts to promote travel to the Caribbean and stimulate greater demand for air access to the region's major markets. At this time, we have established an agreement with American Airlines to support and promote its service to the Island, an effort that will surely strengthen our ties with the airline and will result in substantial benefits for the tourism industry."

In June of this year, the Government of Puerto Rico announced that other airlines had responded favorably to conversations with the PRTC about increasing air service to Puerto Rico. JetBlue Airways announced that it would add four additional flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to San Juan at the beginning of September and a fifth daily flight in November followed by two additional flights in December. JetBlue Airways will also add two flights a week from Logan International Airport in Boston to San Juan in September, a service that will be expanded to include three flights a week in October and daily flights in November. The airline is also planning to include a second daily flight between Boston and San Juan during the holiday season (December 2008-January 2009).

Continental Airlines will add a fourth daily flight from Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, to San Juan from September to December, though the PRTC is in talks with the airline to make this additioanl flight a permanent fixture. The PRTC is currently working on a strategic plan that includes negotiations with airlines such as American Airlines, American Eagle, Air Tran, Cape Air, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Air Tran, United Airlines, US Airways, and others.

The PRTC has also been meeting with members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) who have agreed to work on a joint strategy to guarantee air access to the region.

Puerto Rico government makes great strides toward preserving air access to island
Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila -

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