St Maarten Expands Horizons thanks to Routes Americas

The airport is hoping to connect to destinations such as Aruba, Colombia, Amsterdam and major hubs in the UK, as well as increasing frequencies to Canada and across the United States following successful discussions earlier this monthat Routes Americas in Denver.

Princess Juliana International Airport, the gateway to the Caribbean island of St Maarten has released a statement to say that it is hoping to welcome a number of new carriers to Simpson Bay, as a result of its meetings at this year’s Routes Americas forum in Denver, USA.

The airport is hoping to connect to destinations such as Aruba, Colombia, Amsterdam and major hubs in the UK, as well as increasing frequencies to Canada and across the United States.

During the one-to-one meetings during the event, the St Maarten delegation discussed current and new air service opportunities. The airport found that the US carrier load factors were good, and no changes were expected in the market.

According to the airport’s statement, Insel Air plans to introduce a service between Aruba and St Maarten, which would mark the only direct route between the two destinations. This market is predominantly served by US carriers with lengthy stopovers within America and the Caribbean. Insel Air could also increase frequency on its Santo Domingo service, which it currently operates five times per week.

The airport also said that Surinam Airways is likely to begin services between Amsterdam and St Maarten, while its partnership with GOL could offer opportunities to explore services to Brazil.

In terms of the US carriers, the statement by the airport said that United has indicated a possible frequency increase from Chicago and Washington next winter, as well as introducing a service from Houston in the summer.

Southwest Airlines could be looking into the possibility of a service from its biggest gateway in Baltimore to Princess Juliana International Airport, and the airline is already considering services to the facility from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando as part of its expansion into the Caribbean.

Brazilian carrier Azul, has indicated an interest in St Maarten, according to the statement, and will continue to further explore air service opportunities. Viva Colombia based in Medellin, Colombia also expressed an interest in the market, as it plans to expand into the Caribbean in 2016.

According to the statement, the airport is much in demand in markets such as Canada, which has resulted in an increase in frequencies and new services from cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.

In Europe, British Airways is eyeing St Maarten as part of a double stop in conjunction with one of its current Caribbean hubs in either St Lucia or Antigua, with a possible consideration for its winter 2015 schedule. Representatives from London Gatwick said they were willing to explore possible services to St Maarten with carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Also in the UK, the statement claimed that the airports current service from Stockholm in Sweden by Thomas Cook Airlines could offer the opportunity to discuss a service from Manchester in England by Thomson Airways.

Despite the positive outlook, threats remain from carriers such as JetBlue, who could possibly cancel the service between San Juan in Puerto Rico and St Maarten, as according to the statement, the market needs urgent attention.

Copa Airlines may also reduce capacity on the flights it operates to St Maarten, with the average load factor for 2014 reaching only 50 per cent. Princess Juliana International Airport officials have suggested the airline used Embraer E-jet family aircraft on the route to replace the Boeing 737s which currently operate on the route.

You can read the original statement here.

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