The designated executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), Carlos Mercado Santiago, provided an update on the gradual recovery of air traffic in Puerto Rico, highlighting important advances in the reactivation of routes between the island and main destinations in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean.
“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.”
“Puerto Rico is a key connecting bridge, connecting the U.S. mainland 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, safely and responsibly, and complying with the new protocols required to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mercado stated.
He underscored that both Copa and Avianca have already resumed flights to San Juan, serving Panama and Bogotá respectively. Copa is operating four weekly flights, while Avianca covers the San Juan route three times a week.
In the case of European airlines, the Spanish flag carrier Iberia is expected to resume 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. Condor customers can now make their reservations at through the airline’s website.
Another important international destination for the Island is Canada. Prior to the pandemic, three airlines (Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat) operated nonstop flights in the winter season from Toronto and Montreal to Puerto Rico. Mercado highlighted 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. All airlines have committed to the destination once the control measures are adjusted.
Moreover, the director of Air and Maritime Access of the PRTC, Alejandro Caicedo, stated: “We are in constant communication with our international partners with a view to supporting their operations in Puerto Rico and recovering their seating capacity. Although the pandemic reduced international traffic to and from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport by 70 percent during 2020, we see several positive developments, with the restart of operations of major airlines, mainly from Central and South America.”
The Caribbean market is also in full recovery, after important destinations such as the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands began their reopening. Currently, service has been restored to some fifteen destinations in the Caribbean, with over seven airlines serving the region, although with a marked reduction in capacity…