KINGSTON, Jamaica --
Tourist boards responded to news of Air Jamaicas temporary
suspension of its flights from New York (Kennedy) to Barbados,
Grenada and St. Lucia with news of their own on the impact the
flight cancellations will have. According to Air Jamaica, the
flights will resume April 16.
Air Jamaica had
previously provided 12 flights per week between the U.S. and St.
Lucia -- six flights each from Kennedy via Barbados or Grenada and
six flights via its Montego Bay hub.
Peter Hilary Modeste,
director of tourism for the St. Lucia Tourist Board, said that US
Airways already had announced in February that it is adding a
weekly Saturday flight from Charlotte, N.C., in addition to its two
weekly flights from Philadelphia.
In addition, Delta
reconfirmed an earlier December announcement that it would increase
its schedule out of Atlanta from two flights per week to five
weekday flights, beginning April 1.
has daily service from the U.S. to St. Lucia, and Modeste said that
talks are underway with Continental to begin air
vice president of marketing, the Americas, for the Barbados Tourism
Authority, said Air Jamaica had four weekly flights to Barbados
from Kennedy and four weekly flights via the Montego Bay
We did a market
analysis and feel that our one market that is impacted is Atlanta,
because there is not a lot of mature airlift out of that gateway,
Silvermintz said. Travelers can fly to Charlotte and pick up the
new US Airways weekly flight, and we will explore other
possibilities as well.
Grenadas minister of
tourism Brenda Hood said that Air Jamaica will be sorely
The carrier had four
weekly flights from Kennedy to Grenada and four via Montego
occupancies still down because of Hurricane Ivan, Hood said the
island could handle the situation for a short period.
In the meantime, Air
Jamaica will continue to operate flights to its nine remaining
Caribbean destinations -- Jamaica (Kingston and Montego Bay), the
Bahamas, Bonaire, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman
Islands, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos -- as well as its 13 gateways
in North America and Europe.
The suspended flights
were canceled due to a shortage of available aircraft caused by the
carriers Quality Assurance Check Program, initiated in early
At that time, the
Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority mandated that the airline
immediately reduce the maintenance cycle on its aircraft from 18
months to 15 months, following a December 2004 instruction from the
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
maintenance cycle resulted in the temporary removal of five
aircraft from Air Jamaicas fleet, according to a
We will be back up to
our fleet of 15 Airbus aircraft by April 16, he said.
reservations staff is helping to reaccommodate passengers on other
carriers and has waived cancellation penalties to the three
destinations affected through April 15.
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at