Meetings at Routes Americas forums in San Salvador and Denver these past two years have directly influenced a rise in air capacity into the Caribbean island of Martinique, including the arrival of short-haul links to the United States from European low-cost carrier Norwegian.
Non-stop air seats from the US mainland to Martinique have increased by 193 percent this winter comparing the upcoming December 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 peak season versus the same period in 2014-2015. The spike comes as a result of new non-stop service from the three new Northeast gateways of New York, Boston, and Baltimore/Washington, DC via Norwegian and an expansion in American Airlines flights from Miami.
Speaking to Routesonline at this year’s Routes Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau said: “The first time we met with Norwegian was at a Routes Americas and we met them again last year in Denver when discussions intensified. Next thing we knew we were suddenly taking about implementing these flights to Martinique that provide us with much needed additional non-stop access into the USA.”
“We are really grateful for an event like Routes Americas that enables connections to be made between destinations and airlines. For us this relationship is absolutely crucial. We are very happy about the rewards from our previous event attendance,” she added.
The enhanced connectivity is providing a boost to Martinique’s hospitality sector with new city stay and beachfront hotel options combining with expansive resort renovation and the launch of a new villa booking service to give travellers additional options across a wide range of budgets and travel interests.
“Our hoteliers and villa operators have responded to the sizable increase in non-stop air service from the US mainland to Martinique this winter by creating exciting new hotel options,” said Wiltord. “We look forward to seeing this trend continue into 2016 and beyond as Martinique becomes increasingly accessible, and therefore attractive to the US market.”
Norwegian introduced its seasonal flights to the French West Indies in December 2015 and alongside Martinique’s Aimé Césaire International Airport is also serving Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport in Guadeloupe. The routes are facilitated by both destinations being overseas departments of France to which the United States-European Union-Iceland-Norway Air Transport Agreement applies.
The airline’s expansion into the intra-Americas market on a seasonal basis enables it to make use of its aircraft assets during the traditional quieter European winter months. The three aircraft supporting the Caribbean network (two scheduled and one spare) would otherwise have likely been parked during this period.
Norwegian currently offers twice weekly flights from Martinique to Boston (until March 30, 2016) and Baltimore (until April 1, 2016), while its three times weekly offering to New York will be extended to a four times weekly service from April 3, 2016 through to April 30, 2016 with a new Sunday rotation.