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Caribbean Sun flying to St. Vincent

Service four times weekly commenced March 21; Island nation reconnected with San Juan


March 31, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Caribbean Sun, the sister airline of Antigua-based Caribbean Star, commenced direct service from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMMIA) to E.T. Joshua Airport in St. Vincent on March 21, announced Yolanda Suárez, president of the airline.

The new service is four times weekly in both directions and affords passengers ample time for connections in San Juan. The flights use 37-seater Dash 8-100 aircraft.

"We’re delighted that our friends and partners at Caribbean Sun recognize the potential in launching this new service, making St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) destination more easily accessible from the U.S. market," said Tourist & Culture Minister René Baptiste. "Visitors are now able to enjoy the option of connecting flights in the convenient San Juan hub, opening up several key markets for us. These flights will play an active role in our plans for the sustainable, measured growth of our dynamic tourism industry."

Last year, SVG received 75,087 visitors during the first 11 months, an increase of 14% over the previous year. It is a newcomer to cruise tourism but last year welcomed 68,562 passengers, up 44% over the previous year.

Located 550 miles southeast of Puerto Rico in the Windward Islands between St. Lucia and Grenada, it has a land mass of 150 square miles and a population of 110,000. The economy, based on agriculture diversifying into tourism and services, has a gross product of an estimated $330 million that translates into a per capita income of $2,820 per annum.

Since it doesn’t have an airport to receive transcontinental jets, St. Vincent’s tourism development has been limited and it is known mostly for its posh enclave resorts on islands in the Grenadines like Mustique, Canouan, Petit St. Vincent, and others.

Canouan Resort being operated by Raffles

Canouan is the site of a fabulous Raffles Resort, the first one of the prestigious company headquartered in Singapore. Developer Donald Trump has entered into an agreement with the owners of the resort to operate its casino and assist in marketing the villas (CB Dec. 25, 2003). It was previously operated by Rosewood Resorts of Dallas, which signed an agreement with American Eagle to provide direct service from its San Juan hub (CB May 17, 2001).

American Eagle formerly operated on the San Juan-St. Vincent route but withdrew from it under protest when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruled it wasn’t safe for American Eagle aircraft to take off from the St. Vincent airport because of wind shear. The problem does not affect the Caribbean Sun aircraft, according to industry sources. American Eagle continues to provide direct scheduled service to Canouan from Barbados and San Juan.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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