Dominica welcomed its first official direct American Airlines flight from Miami, Florida on Wednesday.
A test or proving run was done on June 22nd of this year, that test was not a revenue seeking run while this inaugural flight was the first of a new service.
This new service will connect over 40 US cities to Dominica and make Miami, Florida a connecting hub for travelers from Canada, Asia and Europe.
The aircraft is said to have a capacity for 76 passengers, 12 first class seats, and 64 premium seats with extra leg room and main cabin seats.
“Today is a historic day for Dominica, today starts a new and exciting chapter for tourism and travel to our destination,” Minister for Tourism International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Denise Charles said while addressing the inaugural ribbon cutting ceremony held at the Douglas-Charles Airport.
Charles, who was the first person to disembark the aircraft, also described the experience as “a testament of the goodness of God.”
She expressed excitement for Dominican nationals living abroad who longed for faster service to see their families, friends and to join in the island’s annual festivities.
“I am excited for our businesses who will find it much easier to connect with partners, clients and markets,” she noted. “And I am excited today for you in Dominica who from January can fly to Miami for an extended weekend and see your family and also make quicker connections to other countries.”
She continued, “And I am really excited for our tourism stakeholders and livelihood dependent on tourism who have had a rough and challenging season because of this Pandemic who will benefit from an increased visitor arrival.”
Charles reminded all residents that tourism is everybody’s business.
“Every aspect of a visitor’s experience from the day of arrival to departure is important,” She stated. “Let’s make Dominica the destination of choice in the Caribbean, let’s all become tourism ambassadors for our country.”
Charles also encouraged the public to get vaccinated in order to remove the hassle of travel to Dominica and to have festivals again.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said today marks an important chapter in the history of Dominica and the development of the nation.
He indicated that his government has set out its vision to modernize and transform Dominica and continues to do so block-by-block.
He went on to state that as international travel continue to recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic it has spurred greater interest and desire for people to commune with the great outdoors, “and as we look around us in Dominica what better place in the world is there to experience nature than in the Commonwealth of Dominica?”
The Prime Minister mentioned that even before commencing operations a decision was made to increase scheduled flights in Dominica from twice to 3 times a week is a clear indication that the demand is there, “and that the efforts that we are making in developing our tourism industry is bearing fruit.”
He hopes in the future that there will be an expansion to a daily service between Miami and Dominica.
“The creation of quicker and easier air access invites more travelers from all over the world to escape to Dominica for a bit of relaxation and rejuvenation,” Skerrit indicated. “It also means that Dominica is within closer reach of our nationals, many of whom live in cities across the United States.”
This he said provides more opportunities for Dominicans to travel more regularly to connect with friends and family and participate in our various activities.
Prime Minister Skerrit also mentioned that his government continues to invest in making Dominica an attractive destination to visit.
“We have upgraded the facilities here at the Douglas-Charles Airport and ensured that the necessary infrastructure is in place,” he indicated. “Dominica is on a journey of transformation. It’s now frequently cited as the new place to put on your to-do list.”
American Airline representative, Regional Manager of the Eastern Caribbean Cathy-Ann Joseph said the US is underscoring its commitment to opening doors of the Caribbean to the world and helping not only with the recovery, but ultimately with the growth of tourism in the region.
“Today our entire American Airline company is thrilled to launch our new service between the natural paradise of Dominica and Miami,” she said.
Joseph added, “We are looking forward to continuing reinforcing our commitment to the Caribbean in 2022 and beyond where we serve as the living airline operating more than 140 daily flights to 35 destinations.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador of the United States to Dominica, Her Excellency Linda Taglialatela said she is pleased that American Airlines is building yet another bridge between the US and Dominica, “further linking our nation, people and shared commitment to mutual understanding and cultures.”
She admitted that times are tough especially in economies that rely heavily on tourism and other services.
“This is why I believe that American Airlines decision to expand routes at this time is noteworthy,” Ambassador Taglialatela stated.
The flights will come into Dominica on Wednesdays and Saturdays and American Airlines is expected to increase its weekly flights to Dominica to include one days starting on January 10th 2022.
The Government of Anguilla will also welcome its American Airlines inaugural flight from Miami on Saturday 11th December 2012.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport from 2pm.