JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) today announced its intent to operate service between Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) later this year (a). JetBlue intends to launch this route, which currently does not have nonstop service, in December pending government approval. Seats are expected to go out for sale in the coming weeks.
Orlando will become JetBlue’s fourth focus city with service to Port-au-Prince. JetBlue currently offers nonstop flights to the Haitian destination from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). JetBlue operates nearly a third of its capacity in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“Service between Orlando and Port-au-Prince will provide a valuable link between Haiti’s capital city and many communities in central Florida that currently lack nonstop flights from their closest major airport,” said John Checketts, vice president network planning, JetBlue. “Now, with flights from four of our focus cities, JetBlue will connect more U.S. cities with Port-au-Prince than any other airline.”
Port-au-Prince is set on a natural harbor on the Gulf of Gonâve, making it one of the country’s premiere destinations. The city’s layout is divided with the commercial areas near the water and the residential areas in the hills. JetBlue was also a large supporter of rebuilding efforts following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, partnering with agencies such as the American Red Cross to help with aiding efforts.
“I am pleased to congratulate JetBlue on this new air route, which it is inaugurating, linking the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, with the city of Orlando,” said Haiti’s Minister of Tourism Jessy Menos. “This new destination will have the merit of better serving Haitians and Americans wanting to visit both states. Thus, new opportunities are opening to the tourism sector and operators, to tourists, this, through the diversification of North American destinations. So, we say JetBlue, congratulations.”
Toussaint Louverture International Airport is the busiest in Haiti and recently underwent renovations, which increased the terminal’s capacity to about 800,000 passengers per year. The Haitian government spent over 6 million dollars in the restoration of the airport.
JetBlue intends to serve the route with its 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft offering the airline’s award-winning service and the most legroom in coach (b), as well as complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and soft drinks and free first-run Hollywood movies.
(a) Subject to receipt of government operating authority.
(b) JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines.