Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 20, 2022 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has entered discussions for additional airlift support into the Federation which will realize routes from JetBlue and United Airlines into the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (RLB) International Airport starting in the second quarter of 2023.
Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and International Transport, the Honourable Marsha Henderson announced this during her presentation on the 2023 Budget on Friday, December 16.
“Today I am happy to report that we have entered into several advanced discussions for additional airlift support into the Federation which will realize routes from JetBlue and United Airlines starting in the second quarter of 2023,” Minister Henderson said.
“We will also tackle the issue of interregional travel by partnering with LIAT and Caribbean Airlines to ensure that our brothers (and sisters) in the Diaspora and the region can access the destination and enjoy the true Kittitian experience,” she said.
“We went to the Financial Secretary and the allocation of eight (8) million dollars as we see in the estimate, which is an increase of 4.1 million or 105 percent for airlift support in 2023 is included in the capital expenditure for the Ministry,” Minister Henderson added. “What this does is allow us to secure MRGs which are the minimum rate guarantees for these airlines to add St. Kitts to their routes.”
Minister Henderson said that the Labour administration recognizes that there is a need for more airlifts into the Federation and that the approach to rectify this situation starts with making the Federation easily accessible.
She said, “We will have to again take a proactive approach to building and supporting international airlift infrastructure so that our visitors and nationals alike can move more easily between our source markets and our destinations.”
“We are now tapping into the UK market; we traveled to present the destination to the people in the United Kingdom, particularly those in London, Kent, and Surrey where British Airways brings passengers from,” she said.
“What is important though is for us to be a viable destination; we will have to consider tapping into the non-traditional markets. We will therefore need to make sure that persons can access the destination easily. The availability of direct international airline services to major international airport hubs also helps to create confidence not only in our cruise sector but in our stayover industry,” Minister Henderson added.