American Airlines on Oct. 2 plans to launch its first service to Cap Haitien, Haiti, a daily nonstop from Miami, pending DOT approval.
Cap Haitien is the second largest airport in Haiti, after Port-au-Prince. The Haitian government already has approved the service.
American has served Haiti for more than 40 years, according to Art Torno, senior vice president for Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America.
“This new service is important not only for our customers but also as a catalyst to develop the north coast of Haiti and open up this historically significant destination,” Torno said.
Lamothe said the new route “represents a tremendous opportunity for significant economic impact for our country by connecting Miami directly to the second city of Haiti.”
Approximately a third of Haiti's population lives in the northern region, and American estimated that between 30% and 35% of American’s Haiti-bound passengers traveling from New York Kennedy, Miami and Fort Lauderdale currently head north after landing at Toussaint L’Overture Airport in Port-au-Prince.
“It’s a mix of diaspora, leisure travelers and the business community,” a spokesman said.
The region includes Royal Caribbean’s private beach in Labadee; several World Heritage sites, including the Citadelle, the biggest fortress in the Americas; and a U.S.-backed, $300 million industrial park that was opened in 2012 by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and former president and U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton.
American has no plans at this time to link vacation packages to the Cap Haitien service.
The carrier currently offers to Port-au-Prince a daily nonstop from Kennedy; four daily flights from Miami, which will drop to three a day in October; and one flight a day from Fort Lauderdale.
Regional carriers, such as Air Turks and Caicos and Sunrise Airways, currently serve Cap Haitien. The existing runway was extended to 7,500 feet and repaved in February 2013, marking completion of the two-year project.