Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Ian Fleming passenger traffic grows from tens to hundreds

Published:Friday | June 14, 2024 | 12:10 AM

Ian Fleming International Airport, Boscobel, St Mary.
Ian Fleming International Airport, Boscobel, St Mary.

American Airlines’ recent addition of Ian Fleming International Airport to its flight route has resulted in an exponential rise in business for the small airport.

The number of passengers passing through Ian Fleming are still small, but the trend shows an upward trajectory, fuelled by American Airlines and InterCaribbean Airlines.

Passenger traffic in January, February and March was about 60, 190 and 650, respectively. In previous years, fewer than 50 people generally traversed the airport each month.

Earlier this year, American Airlines started flying into the airport twice a week, utilising an Embraer aircraft that carries 76 persons. It announced that it would increase flights during the winter season.

The rise in activity at Ian Fleming is not to be seen as a one-off event, says Zaheer Robinson, CEO of Tru Flight Aviation Services Limited, which provides services at the aerodrome.

“It will become a trend because American Airlines is adding daily flights in the winter. So come winter, you can buy tickets daily from December to April,” he said.

Tru Flight holds the contract for line maintenance for AA Embraer aircraft.

“Definitively, we will have to hire more engineers for us,” he said.

The airport connects travellers from the United States and Turks & Caicos Islands with hotel destinations along the Boscobel-Ocho Rios stretch in Jamaica. Ian Fleming is based in Boscobel, St Mary. It’s around 10 kilometres from Ocho Rios, which is one of Jamaica’s top resort areas for both cruise and stayover tourists.

“In terms of employment opportunities, it is good. It’s a positive trend not just for us, but for the airport,” said Robinson. “The hotels will especially benefit from the rise.”

Ian Fleming, which was previously operated as an aerodrome, but became Jamaica’s third international airport several years ago.

It is owned and operated by the Airports Authority of Jamaica, whereas the two large airports, Sangster International in Montego Bay and Norman Manley International in Kingston, which handles millions of passenger movements, are operated under concession by a Mexican company.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com