West Jet which operates out of Canada made its maiden trip between Toronto, Canada and Kingston, Jamaica on Monday, April 30, 2012.

WestJet is the largest carrier out of Canada into Jamaica and will fly three times into Kingston, (Sundays, Mondays and Fridays) with a seating capacity of 146. The airline plans to use the 737 Aircraft on these trips.  Added to theexisting  Montego Bay trips, this will make it ten flights into Jamaica. The airline flies out of 32 cities in Canada.

Speaking at the arrival ceremony, Chairman of the AAJ, Mr. Dennis Morrison said he was pleased that WestJet was starting its service to Kingston and said that would help in re-claiming ‘lost business’ especially in the context of a sluggish travel environment.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Dr. Wykeham McNeil who noted that Westjet’s entry into Kingston is another step at re-positioning the city as tourist destination. He highlighted the fact that there were travel agents on board the flight who would be engaged in a familiarization trip.

For his part, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Morais Guy who saw the inaugural flight of the airline into Kingston as the ‘birth of a new relationship between West Jet and the people of Kingston, and also a strengthening of the links between Canada and Jamaica.’ Continuing, the Minister said, “As we welcome West Jet to Kingston, we also welcome West Jet Vacations, as we believe that Kingston, being the cultural, entertainment, sporting and business capital of Jamaica, is well positioned to offer great experiences to tourists and business travellers alike. Kingston is the ‘heartbeat of Jamaica’ and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston is the gateway to ecotourism centres in Portland, St. Andrew and on the South Coast; and it is a great route to Ocho Rios on the North Coast.”

In commenting on the government’s thrust to expand the air transport sector, Minister Guy said, “the government of Jamaica is committed to the process of building and sustaining a world-class air transport system which is a gateway to the Caribbean and the Americas. The major capital works undertaken here at the NMIA which began in 2006, is testament to that fact. The government also endorses the vision and mission of NMIA to operate a friendly, efficient, world class airport…with a uniquely Jamaican character.”

In outlining the vision for his airline, Mark Brown, Actng VP, Guest Services at West Jet said that things were ‘encouraging’ based on bookings so far on the route. He said he was looking forward to the’new adventure that is Kingston’.

Mayor of Kingston, Her Worship, MayorAngella Brown-Burke was also on hand to welcome the airline to Kingston.