Jamaica’s civil aviation industry is set to make a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic next year, three years ahead of the original projected date, according to Audley Deidrick, president of the Airports Authority of Jamaica. As of November, the Caribbean country receives around 391 flights per week operated by 25 carriers and led by US American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Jamaica’s recovery

The Caribbean has been quickly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic; in 2022, the number of travelers across the region has dramatically picked up, and Jamaica is no exception. Audley Deidrick said last Friday that with the rapid rate of Jamaica’s aviation traffic recovery in 2022, “it is now safe to forecast that Jamaica’s aviation traffic will make a full recovery to the 2019 pre-COVID level in 2023. That is a whopping three years ahead of the six years projected at the beginning of the pandemic.”

The head of the Airports Authority of Jamaica added that by the end of December 2022, the country’s total airport traffic will recover to approximately 90% of the 2019 level. However, Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) will recover at a slower pace compared to Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ), reaching only an 86% recovery compared to 91% in Montego Bay.

According to data by Aeropuertos GAP (the Mexican company that administrates both Montego Bay and Kingston airports), these hubs have had 3.54 and 1.27 million passengers between January and October 2022.

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX registration N2043J

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Who flies to Jamaica?

There are 25 airlines currently operating flights to Jamaica, according to data by Diio by Cirium. They offer 391 weekly flights and 70,715 seats, with an average of 181 seats per aircraft. Compared to November 2019, the country has lost 35.8% of its weekly operations (there were 609 flights per week three years ago) but had a 0.5% increase in seats available. Jamaica has also lost connectivity from certain airlines such as Rutair, Nordwind, and Neos.

The most important route is New York JFK Airport-Montego Bay, with 39 weekly flights. This route is offered by American Airlines, JetBlue, and Delta Air Lines. The second one is Toronto (YYZ) – Montego Bay, with 29 weekly flights operated by Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing, Swoop, and WestJet.

An Air Canada Airbus A320-211 registration C-GQCA

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

The recovery in the Caribbean – a closer look

Overall, the Caribbean has had an incredible recovery in 2022. Olivier Ponti, vice president of Insights at ForwardKeys, recently said that the Caribbean is an example of a region that is not only recovering but also growing, despite all the macroeconomic factors taking place now, such as the slowdown of the world economy, rising costs of petrol, and the effects of the war in Ukraine.

For the fourth quarter, ForwardKeys expects the tourist numbers to accelerate even further. Leading the way in terms of overseas arrivals is the Dominican Republic, 40% up on 2019 levels, followed by the US Virgin Islands (+33%), Bonaire (+30%), and Martinique (+26%).

Around 73% of the travelers to the Caribbean come from US and Canada, while 10% come from Latin America, and the remaining 17% come from other regions in the world.

Have you traveled to Jamaica? With which airline did you travel, and how was the experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner.

Source: simpleflying.com

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