The Caribbean’s newest airline, Arajet, will take to the skies with direct flights between Santo Domingo and Kingston as of November 14, significantly reducing ticket prices and travel time. Fares will fall from an average US$800 to US$252, round-trip, and travel time will be cut from more than 20 hours (via Miami) to less than two hours.
The added airlift is being touted as an important step in the development of multi-destination tourism travel within the region.
Welcoming the service, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett described it as “a real milestone achievement of air connectivity”.
“The importance of this is the fulfilment of the hope of what true multi-destination tourism is all about. It’s a dream that we have had,” he said at a press briefing at the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in New Kingston on November 11.
He singled out founder and chief executive officer of Arajet, Victor Pacheco, for enabling the linkage with Jamaica and other Caribbean islands with an affordable and timely air service. Mention was also made of the roles played by a number of government ministers and other interests in fulfilment of the new air service.
“The decision to enable improved connectivity between the Dominican Republic and Jamaica is part of a broader and wider strategy of integrating the Caribbean more and also of creating backward connections between Central America and South America. We have been working at bedding that market for the last 15 years,” said Bartlett as he named other airlines that have been engaged in discussions.
The Caribbean dream is shared by Arajet’s Pacheco and the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Angie Martinez.
“This is the only way that we can truly democratise air travel,” said Pacheco, via Zoom, from his office in the Dominican Republic. “I like the minister’s vision so much, I might explore setting up a base there.”
He said he believed the service being offered by his company “will be very important for tourism growth, commercial growth and also to support entrepreneurs in the new age that the world is living in”.
He noted that Arajet was the first company in Latin America to be launching an airline with the new, most technologically advanced 737 MAX airplanes with 40 per cent less pollution, more fuel efficiency and significantly reduced emissions of carbon monoxide. The airline plans to launch 54 routes out of Santo Domingo and while starting in Jamaica with twice weekly flights to Kingston, Montego Bay will be added subsequently.
“In the next 30 years, we’ll be in the middle of the biggest air traffic growth that the world has seen and we need to take advantage of it,” he argued.
Ambassador Martinez termed the new air service as “truly a game-changer in our bilateral relations with Jamaica”.
She said the connection between both countries was both a necessity and a dream come true.
She believes the inexpensive airfare and significantly reduced travel time will result in an uptick in visitors moving between both countries, which share similar cultures.