DALLAS – Emirates Airlines (EK) is now selling seats to Jamaica in a historic first for the island and the Caribbean. The agreement opens the doors to Jamaica and the rest of the region from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, made the announcement on Tuesday, May 10, following high-level meetings at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai between Jamaican tourism officials and a team from EK led by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority and Chairman & Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group.
According to Minister Bartlett, “This is a major initiative for Jamaica as it is opening the Middle Eastern gateway from Asia and North Africa. It is the first time that Destination Jamaica has been entered into the ticketing system of a GCC airline and gives the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) significant leverage to negotiate direct flights to the destination.”
Emirates is the largest of the airlines in the Gulf Coast Countries.
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This agreement is a major result of Jamaica’s maiden participation at the ATM, which is taking place this week in Dubai.
Discussions began in October 2021, when Minister Bartlett and Director of Tourism Donovan White visited Expo 2020 Dubai for the first time. Both Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports are now in the airline system, with ticket prices to match.
Flights are available from JFK, New York, Newark, Boston, and Orlando. One route travels through Malpensa, Italy, providing access to the European market. Importantly, Emirates Holidays is selling the flights.
The news comes during a week when the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) said it is working hard to restore normalcy to the country’s airspace. Air traffic services have been delayed as controllers walked off the job to express their displeasure with the government over long-standing wage concerns.
The JCAA claims to be in contact with all parties involved, and with the news of the EK Middle East gateway, we’re sure they will try to resolve the impasse sooner than later.
Featured image: Emirates A6-EOT Airbus A380 (EXPO 2020 Livery). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways