Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

Warm-weather seekers jetting to the Caribbean this winter will find more choices in airlines, schedules and gateways than in seasons past, thanks to route additions based, in large part, on customer demand.

Here's a rundown on several carriers' route news for peak season travel. In some cases, launch dates for new year-round and seasonal flights take effect before mid-December, the traditional kickoff for the winter peak season and beyond.

JetBlue

The carrier, which launched its Mint premium cabin service with lie-flat seating in 2014, is expanding across the Caribbean with the launch of Saturday Mint flights from Boston to St. Maarten on Feb. 16 and Boston to St. Lucia on Nov. 3.

Weekly Mint service from New York Kennedy to St. Maarten will resume on Feb. 16.

The expansion is part of what JetBlue called "a broader commitment to the Caribbean as it increases capacity in the region," according to Marty St. George, its executive vice president commercial and planning.

American

American will add weekly seasonal service from Chicago O'Hare to Aruba on Dec. 22, as well as to Grand Cayman, Nassau and Turks and Caicos.

The Aruba service will be bolstered with a new year-round Saturday flight from Dallas, beginning Dec. 22.

"Connecting Aruba with Dallas means not only a new gateway for Aruba from the Midwest but also entails additional connections beyond Dallas into U.S. western markets," said Jo-Anne Arends, air service development manager for the Aruba Airport Authority.

The carrier's ambitious roster includes new flights and increased service from a variety of its hub.

On Dec. 15 the carrier will bolster its Bonaire service with three additional nonstop flights a week from Miami, joining the weekly Saturday flight from Miami.

Beginning Nov. 4, it will add a year-round daily nonstop from Charlotte to St. Maarten and will add a second daily flight from Miami on Dec. 19. New service from Charlotte also includes flights to both Eleuthera and Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas, launching Dec. 22.

Daily service from Charlotte to Barbados begins Dec. 19, and on that same date a third daily flight from Miami to Barbados will launch.

That additional flight from Miami was described as a signal of tremendous confidence in Barbados, according to Kerrie Symmonds, minister of tourism and international transport.

"These flights constitute a 100% increase in seat capacity into and out of the island," Symmonds said. "Increased services to these important cities will help to ensure another year of record passenger arrivals to our destination."
American will be the first U.S. carrier to fly nonstop to St. Vincent and the Grenadines when it starts year-round Saturday service from JFK on Dec. 22.

Spirit

The low-cost carrier is beefing up its Caribbean schedule with flights out of its Orlando hub.

Bob Fornaro, CEO, recently described Orlando as one of the carrier's largest markets. "We have no plans of stopping our growth there," he said.

The flights from Orlando include daily service to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, starting Oct. 4, and thrice-weekly flights to St. Thomas, beginning Nov. 8.

Service to Santo Domingo from Newark, currently four times a week through Nov. 7, shifts to daily service on Nov. 8.

On Dec. 20, Spirit will launch nonstop seasonal service between Detroit and Montego Bay three times a week.

Norwegian Air

The carrier returns to Martinique for its third season on Oct. 31 with four weekly flights from Fort Lauderdale, an increase from three flights per week last winter.

The JFK-Martinique service resumes on Oct. 28, with six weekly flights, two up from last year.

"We were the first airline in more than 20 years to link Martinique to New York City and we are excited to return this season," said Thomas Ramdahl, chief commercial officer.

Southwest

The carrier will resume seasonal daily service on Nov. 4 between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Cayman, and between Fort Lauderdale and Turks and Caicos.

Delta

The carrier is adding a second nonstop flight from Miami to Havana, starting Oct. 28. The flight will operate five times a week.

"The new flight provides our customers with an evening departure from both points in addition to the current morning flight out of Miami and Havana, where we are about to mark our second year of renewed service," said Luciano Macagno, managing director, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The carrier continues to operate daily flights between Atlanta and Havana but has dropped its route from New York to Havana.

New Delta services from New York include Antigua and Barbuda, Dec. 22; a second daily flight to Nassau, Oct. 1; a daily flight to Kingston, Jamaica, Dec. 20, and Saturday service to Port-au-Prince, Haiti Dec. 22.

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