NEW YORK – JetBlue Airways, the largest carrier in Puerto Rico in terms of capacity, is making it even easier to travel between San Juan and neighboring Caribbean islands with the announcement of plans to launch nonstop daily service to St. Maarten (SXM), subject to receipt of government approval. This new route will be the value airline’s eighth non-stop destination out of San Juan and its third out of St. Maarten.
Flights between San Juan and St. Maarten will go on sale at www.jetblue.com soon, with service to begin November 17. The new service will be JetBlue’s second intra-Caribbean route, with existing service between San Juan and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“We are thrilled to announce further growth to our San Juan focus city,” said Robin Hayes, Chief Commercial Officer for JetBlue. “The support of the Puerto Rican community has been remarkable and we look forward to continuing to provide them more options for travel throughout the Caribbean region.”
“Increasing air access to Puerto Rico is essential for our tourism industry, commercial development, and homeport cruise market,” added the Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico, Jose R. Perez-Riera. “We are grateful for the support that great airline partners like JetBlue have given to our market. This new service strengthens our position as a hub of the Caribbean and is the result of a successful working relationship that we have maintained with our partner airlines.”
This summer, JetBlue will have 27 daily departures from San Juan and 34 daily departures from Puerto Rico, including Aguadilla and Ponce. This new route will provide convenient connections to St. Maarten from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK), Boston’s Logan (BOS), Orlando International (MCO), and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL) airports. The new service follows the recent addition of flights from San Juan to both Tampa and Jacksonville.
“It is of high importance to improve regional air access in the Caribbean for the benefit of all the economies of the region,” said Jaime A. Lopez-Diaz, Chief Development Officer of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico. “This new JetBlue service is a perfect example of how working together, the region can increase the supply of air traffic.”
“The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is enthusiastic about JetBlue’s new service from Puerto Rico to St. Maarten, as it provides essential access to and from the Dutch/French Caribbean, one our top ten markets in the region,” said Mario Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. “Visitors from St. Maarten/St. Martin visit Puerto Rico for diverse reasons like shopping, medical, and sports and cultural events, among others. This market generated an average of 1,900 room nights in calendar year 2010, principally in small and medium hotels. This new service strengthens Puerto Rico’s position as the main connecting point to numerous destinations within the region.”
“I am pleased to learn of JetBlue’s decision to begin servicing the SJU – SXM route,” said the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs and Transportation of St. Maarten, Honorable Franklin Meyers. “Following our recent discussions in New York, JetBlue has proven to be a valuable partner since its initial entry into St. Maarten in 2008, providing daily service from New York as well as servicing St. Maarten from Boston. I am confident that together we will grow the San Juan – SXM route. This new service will open up the possibility for potential visitors from key source markets besides Puerto Rico, namely, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Boston, to come to the destination.”
“The JetBlue, St. Maarten partnership has changed the landscape of tourism in St. Maarten,” said Director of Tourism of St. Maarten, Regina LaBega. “The airfares from key source markets, for example, have become more affordable, therefore resulting in a larger volume of visitors to the destination as well as a higher visitor expenditure on island. The new SJU-SXM service by JetBlue, using the famous Embraer aircraft will certainly boost traffic in both directions, consequently contributing positively to our economy.”
Service to St. Maarten will be operated by JetBlue’s Embraer E190 aircraft, offering two-by-two, comfortable all-leather seating. The airline’s customers also enjoy a first-checked bag free (a), award-winning customer service and unlimited, complimentary snacks and drinks.