By Alexander Britell and Dana Niland
St Thomas is getting a big airlift boost this summer — and it looks like the start of a trend.
The flight expansion will be highlighted by the addition of a second daily nonstop flight from Atlanta to St Thomas on Delta this summer, according to USVI Tourism Commissioner Designee Joseph Boschulte.
The existing daily Delta flight from New York and St Thomas will also continue through the end of August.
And that’s just the beginning.
United Airlines will be serving the Houston-St Thomas route beginning in May, first with weekly Saturday service, then with daily flights from June 6 to Aug. 19.
“We are steadily restoring confidence in our destination,” Boschulte said. “[We] will leave no stone unturned to maintain and increase airlift to both islands, especially as more accommodations come back on line.”
The new flights bolster a destination that has already been seeing a rebirth in air service in the last year.
That includes a new thrice-weekly route from Orlando to St Thomas on Spirit, and American Airlines service from Charlotte to St Thomas that launched last fall.
Boschulte said American Airlines was “seriously considering” restoring its third daily flight between Miami and St Thomas, along with “expressing interest in a new Dallas flight” as well.
The new tourism official also said the USVI was looking to expand intra-regional air service, having launched talks with LIAT about increasing frequency or capacity on the Antigua-St Thomas route.
That service currently runs three times per week.
“Our work to encourage our airline partners to serve both St. Croix and St. Thomas is part of our overall marketing continuum,” said said Boschulte, who was designated as the USVI’s newest tourism chief earlier this year.
It’s another positive step for the tri-island destination whose tourism industry has been seeing a rapid recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.