The world’s largest airline launched a pair of new routes this week to a Caribbean destination on the rise: St Thomas.
The latest boosts to St Thomas’ tourism renaissance came with the arrival of new winter flights from both Chicago O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Both of those nonstop flights will be operating weekly on Saturdays, now through April 4, 2020, St Thomas tourism officials confirmed to Caribbean Journal.
The Chicago-St Thomas flight will be running on an Airbus A319 with 128 seats, while the Dallas-St Thomas flights are operating on Boeing 757s with 176 seats.
“American Airlines is pleased to provide nonstop service to the beautiful island of St. Thomas from these important hubs,” said Alfredo Gonzalez, American’s Managing Director, Caribbean, in a statement “We would like to thank the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, the Virgin Islands Port Authority, and other agencies for working seamlessly with us to make these flights possible.”
The new routes come as St Thomas’ tourism sector, still recovering from the storms of 2017, welcomed back the US Virgin Islands’ leading hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, St Thomas, which reopened its doors at the end of last month.
That complements a strong contingent of hotels that have been operating in St Thomas for some time now, from the beloved Bolongo Bay Beach Resort (Iggy’s, anyone?) to the Secret Harbour hotel.
And the USVI’s most popular destination will this year see the launch of two more hotels: the transformed Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort and Spa, and a new hotel called Noni Beach, a St Thomas Resort. The latter will be a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, with the combined openings totaling more than $200 million investment.
American is also adding more flights to St Thomas out of Miami, with a third daily flight that launched earlier this week.
“We are delighted to inaugurate these flights which open up and enhance the very important Chicago and Texas markets,” said Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. “We are very happy with the deepening of our partnership with American Airlines and look forward to working with their team to bolster airlift to our Territory this winter and beyond.”
St Thomas also serves as a crucial air hub for the neighboring British Virgin Islands, which will undoubtedly see a benefit due to the increased air capacity, too. (While travelers can fly to Tortola through airports like San Juan on Cape Air, St Thomas-Tortola ferry service is also a very popular option).
The new routes are an important sign of confidence from American, and part of a wider Caribbean expansion American is undertaking throughout the second half of this month.