Today will mark an historic occasion for Dominica when the country welcomes its first direct continental flight from the United States.
American Eagle will land at the Douglas Charles Airport at 3:00pm today making this a breakthrough in air travel for Dominica. The flights will be coming from Miami, Florida.
Two flights will also arrive every Wednesday and Saturday and the schedule is expected to upgrade to three flights. Back and forth travel is also included as round trips will be available.
Parliamentary secretary in the ministry of Tourism, Chekira Hypolite said this major event will be broadcast live on all media platforms.
“This Wednesday, we will also be adding to the exciting start of the 2021 Christmas season with the first direct flights from the US. We wish we could invite everyone for the celebration at the newly revamped Douglas Charles airport, but as we know with covid-19 protocols, we will have to invite you to join us all on social media platforms.
She also invited the public to play a part in promoting ‘destination Dominica’ to make the demand to visit Dominica “so high that we will have daily flights from the US”.
Meantime, during an interview with Q95FM Radio, Manager of Jungle Bay Resort, Samuel Raphael, said this initiative is a dream come true and asked Dominicans for their support to ensure longevity of this new service.
He said this will make flights more convenient for all and as a result bring more revenue to the tourism sector and according to him, will also fulfil the dream of getting direct flights to help with Dominica’s airlift challenge.
“I’m a hotel owner and there are many Hotel owners and other people that are tourism providers in Dominica. Air access has been one of our biggest challenges and this is the beginning. This is not the end of it all but this is the beginning of something new so this is very important. We should celebrate and support this new service to ensure its sustainability,” Raphael declared.
He said great amount of work and negotiations went into this project starting with the efforts of the former Minister for Tourism to the current minister, Denise Charles as well as the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) under Colin Piper, as well as the Dominica Port Authority.
Raphael made special mention of the government’s ability to convince American Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the middle of Covid-19 with such uncertainty and volatility in the market.
“They all had to come on board and work together and together they did achieve that so I’d like to give them credit because it didn’t just fall from the skies. It’s a gift for us in tourism yes, but it’s not a gift that fell from the sky without effort. There was a lot of effort that went into this,” he stressed.
The hotel proprietor also noted that the planes coming in are small and can only carry a maximum of 76 people. He said ticket prices will be costly and expects people to complain about this as “everyone wants convenient and everyone wants cheap.”
“Well, we’re going to get convenient. It’s not going to be so cheap now, but certainly, we’re going to continue to grow the service and when the new airport is built and they can bring in larger airplanes that’s when I think we’re going to see a dramatic drop in prices,” he stated.