By the Caribbean Journal staff
American Airlines is now serving the southern edge of the Caribbean.
The carrier has officially launched new nonstop flights from Miami to Guyana on the northern coast of South America.
The new flights, which began on Thursday, will be operating four times each week. The carrier will soon add more flights to its schedule, Guyanese officials said in a statement.
“As Guyana embarks on a new development trajectory, we have placed emphasis on improving our air and land connectivity,” said Guyana Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge. “Our geographical location presents us with a unique opportunity to potentially become a hub between South America and the rest of the world. In recognition of this and the increasing number of visitors to Guyana, we embarked on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion.”
Guyana becomes the 19th destination for American in South America, a boost for a country that is home to the seat of the Caribbean Community, the regional economic bloc.
American is now the only United States-based carrier offering flights to and from Guyana, according to Robert Wirick, managing director of international government affairs at American.
The new flights come as Guyana is seeing very strong tourism growth.
The destination reported 134,347 tourist arrivals in the first half of 2018, according to data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
That represented a growth rate of 18.3 percent over the first six months of 2017, one of the highest growth rates in the Caribbean this year.
It’s an important step for a destination that is markedly different than its fellow CARICOM member states, with an overwhelming focus on eco-tourism.