By the Caribbean Journal staff
The St Maarten comeback continues.
The latest step in the destination’s post-Irma recovery has come in the form of new airlift, with low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines plotting a return to St Maarten in May, according to the St Maarten Ministry of Tourism.
Spirit will launch weekly flights between Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport beginning May 5.
The carrier will be operating the service on Airbus A319 aircraft with 145 seats. That will eventually be expanded to a larger A321 aircraft with 228 seats, according to the Ministry.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, Spirit had been operating flights from Fort Lauderdale to St Maarten on a weekly basis.
“Spirit has been providing air service to the country for almost a decade at competitive prices,” said St Maarten Tourism Minister Cornelius de Weever. “Government and the local tourism sector are well aware of the challenges currently being faced by the destination where it concerns the high airfares to and from the North American market, which is related to the demand and supply of seats to the destination, coupled with the limited number of hubs in the United States servicing the country.”
So what about actually staying in St Maarten? While many hotels are still closed, more and more are relaunching operations, from the already-opened Princess Heights and the Belair Beach Hotel to the Villas at Simpson Bay, among others.
Several better known properties including the Divi Little Bay and the Oyster Bay are slated to return in May and June, respectively.
The new flights are the latest in what has become a big push by Spirit to expand its footprint in the Caribbean region, from significantly expanded flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands to new service to Jamaica.