The presence of many tourism officials was felt, a taste of the culture was given, live band music was played as Grenada last week Thursday welcomed JetBlue Airways to the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) for the first time.
The plane made its augural flight to the Spice Isle from JFK in New York, making Grenada its 90th destination in the world.
The 150 seat aircraft will be offering a straight flight service from New York to St. George’s every Thursday and Sunday.
Among the top dignitaries on hand were Minister of Tourism, Yolande Bain-Horsford, senior officials of the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA), Acting Manager of NAWASA, Christopher Husbands and Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) representatives like CEO, Rudy Grant and Board Director, Shadel Nyack-Compton.
The passengers on board the flight that landed at MBIA included Nyack-Compton who described her experience on the trip that lasted just under five hours.
“It was a fantastic flight, it was smooth, it was lovely. We had first class service throughout the flight and I must say that everyone on board really enjoyed the experience”, she said.
“…I was sitting in first class but more than that everyone on the flight was sitting in first class. We all had large spacious seats, extra legroom and first class service throughout the flight,’ she added.
Vice President of Metro Planning at JetBlue, David Clark said the airline is thrilled to be offering its services to Grenada.
“It is not every day we get to add a destination as spectacular, as naturally beautiful as Grenada. Whether they come for the white sand beaches, the world class diving, the friendship resorts or the rich history or cultural heritage, we know that JetBlue’s customers are going to love Grenada,” he remarked.
Clark stated that JetBlue is committed to forging ahead with its new relationship with the Spice Isle.
The Minister of Tourism expressed her gratitude to the airline and the others who have contributed to its decision to select Grenada as a new destination.
“I just want to thank JetBlue for having the confidence… I also want to thank Sandals; Sandals have done very well for Grenada, not only Sandals but also the many others who chipped in to ensure that JetBlue came to Grenada,” she said.
Two hoteliers who have been clamouring for more airlifts gave their reactions to the New Today Newspaper about JetBlue’s arrival.
Owner of the Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin was among the passengers aboard the plane last Thursday.
“We had a flawless flight, a beautiful flight, very comfortable, excellent service but first of all I’m very elated and happy that Jetblue is flying to Grenada.
“…We really have been in need of connectivity and air seat out of New York because that’s a big catchment area… and with JetBlue coming out of New York with proper pricing or very good attractive pricing … then it only augurs well to stimulate additional growth for tourism, the Diaspora and all and sundry out of the northeastern side of the United States.
Vice president of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Authority (GHTA), Russ Fielden said the coming of the airline is one of the best things that ever happened to Grenada.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a new airline coming in.
JetBlue is serious; they are going to be coming in with two flights a week.
“…What is good about JetBlue, they are coming from New York, which is
where the majority of our American clients come from anyway, and a huge Diaspora… this is going to be a changing game for Grenada’s tourism.
President of the GHTA, Jerry Rappaport of La Sagesse Nature Center, a small property, shared the same sentiments as Fielden.
He said: “Any additional flights that’s coming into Grenada are a plus for the island but what makes the JetBlue flight in particular very encouraging to us is because… more flights coupled with lower fares is win win”.