Important benefit

Important benefit

The announcement of Winair flights to Martinique connecting with Dominica (see Monday newspaper) enhances opportunities to promote tourism from the region. Make no mistake, despite its operational issues especially near the end, Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) has been missed since its demise in January.

Winair is helping fill this void and also the one left by its former wet-lease partner for the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) route Guadeloupe-based Air Antilles, which suspended service pending a recertification process. That is no luxury, especially going into the carnival season.

The local airline’s expanded network includes Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), St. Barths, St. Eustatius, and Saba. Several carriers such as Air Century and Araiet operate between Princes Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and other Caribbean regional destinations like the Dominican Republic too.

Starting in June Frontier Airlines is starting twice-weekly service until mid-August to its new hub in San Juan, with connections to more than a dozen US and other cities. This can help attract passengers out of Puerto Rico, who used to visit St. Maarten in numbers, complementing the two current flights by Silver Airways.

Regional travel also tends to be less seasonal than from the island’s biggest source markets North America and Europe, which is mainly during winters there. The latter is an important benefit in socioeconomic terms, particularly stimulating more year-round business activity and employment.

The Daily Herald

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