Basseterre, St. Kitts. January 22, 2014 (SKNIS): The Ministry of International Transport has successfully rebuilt an economically viable air bridge between St. Kitts and Nevis and Puerto Rico through a new partnership forged with Seaborne Airlines.
In a ceremony held on (Tuesday) January 21 to officially welcome Seaborne Airlines to St. Kitts and Nevis, new St. Kitts Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer and chairperson for the event, Raquel Brown, told media and invited guests at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport VIP Lounge, the Ministry of International Transport and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority have worked tirelessly over the last few years to strengthen their capacity to install increased airlift service infrastructure to the federation.
“We certainly welcome Seaborne Airlines commitment to investing and developing into regional travel in the Caribbean,” said Miss Brown, “particularly when islands are now working so hard to attract the interest of Caribbean people to visit their neighbours. It is evident that our Minister of Tourism along with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority has taken a proactive approach to building and supporting international airlift infrastructure so that visitors and nationals alike can move more easily between our source markets and our neighbouring islands.”
From its home base in St. Croix, USVI, Seaborne Airlines has operated for the past twenty years in the Caribbean region and currently serves just over ten territories.
Government, according to the Tourism Authority CEO, decided to invest in airlift arrangements that would capture an even greater piece of the North American tourism market. Minister of International Transport, Senator Honourable Richard Skerritt expressed pleasure in the opportunity to welcome yet another airline to St. Kitts and Nevis. In doing so however, he explained that growing airlift in St. Kitts and Nevis has been a path filled with both challenges and opportunities.
“Growing our airlift over the past few years has been a path filled with both challenges and opportunities, as well as a generous share of ups and downs,” explained Minister Skerritt, “but I’m happy to say that we have experienced more success in airlift development than many would have believed possible. Actually, from what I have observed about the history of Seaborne Airlines, [is that] our own development and growth as a destination has been quite similar. We too started out as a small player in the overall Caribbean tourism marketplace and have been following a path of carefully planned strategic growth and both Seaborne and our destination are both tactfully poised for bigger and better results.”
The Minister also said in spite of the recent global recession, airlift in St. Kitts and Nevis has grown past the one or two chartered flights out of North America and the United Kingdom weekly.
Seaborne Airlines will add twelve thousand international seats annually to St. Kitts and Nevis as a destination and Minister Skerritt hoped that citizens and residents will make good on these long-sort-after arrangements, especially domestic ones. He expressed gratitude to Seaborne Airlines for the bold step they have taken, the Ministries of Tourism and International Transport for their vision, St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority, St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services and other stakeholders.
In presenting a gift of batik print to the Seaborne Airlines representative, Minister Skerritt encouraged Kittitians and Nevisians to celebrate this new relationship in the spirit of confidence and full success.
Seaborne Marketing Executive Mike Ritzy said the entire Seaborne family is excited to follow their hearts into St. Kitts and Nevis. He said Seaborne boasts excellent safety and performance records and by April, 2014, its 350 plus employees will dedicate themselves to even greater customer service when they operate 2600 departures annually in the region.
Mr. Ritzy described St. Kitts and Nevis as a great destination that has developed quite a reputation in the travel industry, a great destination where Seaborne hopes to work closely with the community.
The ceremony concluded with the exchange of gifts and a toast by Minister Skerritt on the occasion of welcoming Seaborne Airlines to the St. Kitts and Nevis market.