The designated executive director of the Tourism Company, Carlos Mercado Santiago, today provided an update on the recovery of the international flights in Puerto Rico, highlighting that it will be a gradual one as 2021 progresses.
“The recovery and strengthening of air access in Puerto Rico is part of the priorities that we have outlined in the plan for the gradual reopening of the destination of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. In this sense, preparing for the gradual reactivation of international flights represents a step forward, ”Mercado Santiago said in written statements.
Mercado Santiago highlighted that Copa and Avianca airlines have already resumed flights to San Juan, serving Panama and Bogotá, respectively. Copa operates four weekly flights, while Avianca covers the San Juan route three times a week.
In the case of European airlines, it is expected that the Spanish Iberia resumes flights between Madrid and San Juan during the second quarter of 2021, with between three to five weekly frequencies.
Similarly, the German airline Condor announced last weekend that it will resume its non-stop route from Frankfurt to San Juan, with a weekly flight every Saturday from November 2021.
Another important international destination for the Tourism Company is Canada. Prior to the pandemic, Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat airlines operated non-stop flights in winter season from Toronto and Montreal to Puerto Rico. Mercado Santiago pointed out that the recovery of the Canadian market has been delayed given the strong restrictions on Canadians returning to their country and the prolonged stoppage of operations in the cruise industry.
“Puerto Rico is a key connecting bridge, connecting the United States and Europe with the Caribbean region, so one of the main objectives of our air access division is to continue facilitating the restart of flight operations by the end of 2021 , in a safe and responsible way, and complying with the new protocols required to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, ”added Mercado Santiago.
The pandemic caused the international traffic to and from the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport was reduced by 70% During 2020, the director of Air and Maritime Access of the Tourism Company, Alejandro Caicedo, detailed.
“We are in constant communication with our international partners with a view to supporting their operations in Puerto Rico and recovering their seating capacity,” said Caicedo.
The Caribbean market is also in full recovery, after Destinations such as the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands will begin their reopening, highlighted Tourism. Currently, service has been restored to some 15 destinations in the Caribbean, with over seven airlines serving the region, although with a marked reduction in capacity.
“In addition to the airlines that already serve the destination, we are continually evaluating air traffic trends with a view to identifying new international markets to open as soon as market conditions allow. As part of our efforts, we are working to improve the tourist infrastructure, reactivate and renovate attractions and, together with Discover Puerto Rico, regain the positioning of our destination in strategic markets ”, concluded Mercado Santiago.