US major American Airlines is to introduce the first scheduled non-stop link to Martinique from the US mainland in five years when it inaugurates a new weekly, Saturday-only, flight between Miami and Fort-de-France from April 6, 2013. The new service will be operated using a Boeing 737-800 configured with 16 Business Class and 134 Economy seats.
"These new flights represent a major step forward in Martinique's development into a primary Caribbean vacation destination for US travellers," said Mrs. Karine Roy-Camille, Commissioner of the Martinique Tourism Authority. "Interest has been growing for Martinique among US travellers in recent years. Now, with our partners at American Airlines offering convenient, weekly direct service, Martinique stands poised to charm US travelers like never before."
American Airlines already has an offering to Martinique with its American Eagle regional partner providing daily flights between Fort-de-France’s Aimé Césaire International Airport and San Juan in Puerto Rico, although this route is due to close at the end of March this year. According to schedule data, the last scheduled flights to the US were operated by Delta Air Lines with a weekly rotation between Fort-de-France and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from December 2006 to April 2008.
Looking back into the 1980s and 1990s there were regular links to Fort-de-France from Miami. Air France provided links to Martinique from a regional hub at Miami International Airport between October 1988 and September 1992 and then again between April 1996 and March 1998. Before that Air Guadeloupe offered flights between December 1992 and March 1993, while Eastern Airlines served the route between April 1984 and December 1985. American Airlines also served the island from New York during the 1980s with Douglas DC-10 and later Boeing 727 services from JFK International Airport up until 1987.
The island of Martinique is situated in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea and is an overseas département of France with a culture culture that blends French and Caribbean influences. It is home to a growing population of approximately 412,000 citizens, up around eight per cent since 2000. The country’s economy has been mainly based on the trade of agricultural products but tourism has taken a more important role as a source of foreign exchange in recent years as sugar production has declined. Small industry now accounts for around eleven per cent of GDP and agriculture around six per cent, mainly due to the trade of bananas to Europe.