From St Thomas to Saint Lucia, American Airlines’ Big Caribbean Expansion

st thomas saint lucia american airlines cover pictureSt Thomas.
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American Airlines is set to launch a major new Caribbean flight expansion this month. 

The world’s largest airline will be launching a series of flights across the region beginning Dec. 18 with the launch of new flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Guyana. 

The same day, American is expanding flights with a second daily frequency from Dallas to San Jose, Costa Rica. 

On Dec. 21, American will be launching several new Saturday-only routes, most notably a new route to the USVI.

Those will include a new weekly flight from both Dallas and Chicago O’Hare to the island of St Thomas, a major boost for the United States Virgin Islands and neighboring British Virgin Islands, which relies on both San Juan and St Thomas as its primary gateways.

American will also be launching seasonal Saturday service from Chicago O’Hare and Saint Lucia

Finally, American Airlines is launching two more Saturday routes: from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Bermuda, and a new route from Charlotte, North Carolina to the island of Grenada. 

Both the Bermuda and Grenada flights will operate year-round, the company said. 

American will be operating the Grenada and St Thomas flights on Airbus A319 aircraft; the other flights will run on Boeing 737 aircraft. 

It’s a noteworthy expansion for American Airlines long the leading carrier to the wider Caribbean region, but one that has faced continued competition in the region from fast-growing carriers like JetBlue.

And the new flights are an important boost for a Caribbean region that has already been seeing strong stayover arrival growth in 2019, according to the most recent data from the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization. 

Indeed, stayover tourist arrivals to the Caribbean region rose by 9.7 percent in the first six months of 2019, according to the most recently-compiled Caribbean Tourism Organization data. 

That meant around 17.1 million tourists in the period, some 1.5 million more than the first half of 2018. 

– CJ