Direct flights between Puerto Rico and the UK likely to be reinstated before 2016
Puerto Rico's tourism chief Ingrid Rivera Rocafort has confirmed that the Puerto Rican Tourism Company is seeking to re establish a direct flight service between the UK and Puerto Rico. Though the details have not yet been ironed out, Ms Rocafort was confident that the service would be launched before 2016.
UK holidaymakers will be pleased to learn that the Puerto Rican Tourism Company is actively looking into re instating direct flights between Puerto Rico and the UK.
Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company commented on the plans ahead of the Routes Americas 2015 conference stating that she was confident that the service would be available before 2016. Ms Rocafort, in her recent statements, confirmed that Virgin Atlantic would not operate the new route but declined to comment further on the matter.
Both British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic (VS) have at one point operated flights between the UK and Puerto Rico however both services have since been cancelled. British Airways most recently dropped its weekly Gatwick to San Juan via Antigua service in April 2013.
At the time, BA cited low profitability and a lack of demand as the key reasons for the decision. Indeed, the UK is not one of Puerto Rico's largest source markets, accounting for a mere 4,300 arrivals out of an average of 4.4 million international arrivals to Puerto Rico each year.
One factor that may help to boost the demand for flights to Puerto Rico from the UK is the fact that the local government is working towards making Puerto Rico a key transit point for European travellers booking holidays in the Caribbean, a move that will make Puerto Rico a direct competitor to Miami. Ms Rocafort explained:
"We're working to make Puerto Rico an air transit hub. We want to make it easy and quick for passengers - at Miami you have three hours of going through immigration and customs, we have the infrastructure to do it quicker."
In addition to attracting transit passengers, Puerto Rico is also improving its tourism facilities on offer announcing plans to add a further 2000 hotel rooms this year alone, a portion of which will come with the opening of Puerto Rico's first Four Seasons hotel.
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