Wed | Feb 8, 2023

Spirit to start Connecticut-MoBay direct flights come December

Published:Friday | September 2, 2022 | 12:12 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Spirit Airlines will operate non-stop flights four times weekly to Montego Bay.
Spirit Airlines will operate non-stop flights four times weekly to Montego Bay.

Starting December 15, budget carrier Spirit Airlines will be operating direct flights between Bradley International Airport in Connecticut and the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.

The airline will operate non-stop flights four times weekly to Montego Bay.

The new airline service between Connecticut and Jamaica is the fruit of efforts that began as far back as 2006 to have it initiated.

Making the announcement along with officials of the airline on Thursday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said that the flights will operate year-round.

He noted that it is the first time that any airline that services Bradley is offering a non-stop flight to Jamaica, which has a large diaspora population in the American state.

According to census data, more than 56,000 Connecticut residents have Jamaican ancestry and Lamont noted that the state has the fifth-largest population of residents with Jamaican ancestry.

“Today’s announcement with Spirit Airlines not only makes it easier for our state’s residents to directly travel to Jamaica but it also strengthens Bradley’s reputation as one of the best and most convenient airports available,” the governor said.

The direct non-stop flights will allow easier connection between Connecticut and Montego Bay, with passengers no longer needing to travel to JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York. Goods coming from Jamaica destined for Connecticut will also not need to be flown into New York then transported by road to Connecticut.

John Kirby, vice president of network planning for Spirit Airlines, said that the airline was pleased with its partnership with Bradley and the growth opportunities since launching its service in 2017.

“We have a tremendous team both in Connecticut and Montego Bay and have proudly served Jamaica since 2005,” he added.

Over recent years, a coalition of advocates – led by Caribbean Trade Council President Andrew Lawrence and including state representative Bobby Gibson – had been lobbying the Connecticut Airport Authority to launch a direct service between Jamaica and the state.

The governor and the Connecticut General Assembly allocated some US$2 million in the recent state budget for Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to help attract the non-stop service.

DECD Commissioner David Lehman said the department was excited about the economic opportunities the new service unlocks and is looking forward to building on existing relationships with Jamaica.

Kevin Dillion, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, said the entity was proud to make the non-stop service a reality.

“I have no doubt that this service will be successful and I am proud that Bradley International Airport will be able to offer convenient connectivity for the state’s strong Jamaican population,” he said.

lester.hinds@gleanerjm.com