Sky Harbor Celebrates Newest International Destination
It’s often called “The Jewel of the Caribbean,” and on Friday, December 18, 2009, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport added another international destination, a non-stop flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica, on US Airways.
Passengers at Gate A10 enjoyed listening to Jamaican music, sampling Jamaican coffee, fruits, and pastries, and watched as dignitaries cut the rope to kick-off the inaugural flight. There was a sense of excitement from the flight’s passengers. Many pulled out their cell phones or cameras to take pictures of the event, and on-lookers also made their way down the concourse to see what all the green and yellow balloon columns were and why there was music playing.
As the festivities continued, local dignitaries from US Airways, the City of Phoenix, and Jamaica welcomed passengers. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways, said that US Airways is “so happy to add another international flight. It is our first non-stop destination to the Caribbean from Phoenix.”
Indeed, this flight, which will operate four times per week on an Airbus A319 aircraft that accommodates 112 people in the main cabin and 12 people in first class, is the only nonstop service to Jamaica available west of Texas, and passengers in 28 cities on the West Coast will be able to fly to Phoenix to connect onto this nonstop Montego Bay flight. And, from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, passengers have the option of making other connections to various Caribbean locales.
Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix also spoke about the excitement of having this new, non-stop international service and the importance of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and US Airways are to the community, our growth and prosperity.
Then, the Honorable Edmund Curtis Bartlett, M.P., Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, shared his delight about the two great cities of Montego Bay and Phoenix being joined together.
“This partnership has long been coming and is important to us,” Bartlett said. “It promotes global links between people. The experience that Jamaica offers is one-of-a-kind, and I’m glad that Phoenicians can now experience it.”
Mayor Gordon, Doug Parker and the Honorable Edmund Curtis Bartlett are pictured above.
Passengers were also very excited about taking this flight. Newlyweds Nathaniel and Kerrie Robinson (pictured above) were surprised to see all the festivities as they approached Gate A10, but they couldn’t be happier. The two were on their way to Jamaica for their honeymoon. It is the first time the couple is visiting the Caribbean and they were energized to see what Jamaica has to offer and take a canopy/safari tour.
Fellow passengers, Art and Lyn Weiner (pictured above) of Phoenix were also visiting Jamaica for the first time and were looking forward to snorkeling, a favorite pastime that they have done in other parts of the Caribbean.
“It is so exciting to have a direct flight to the Caribbean,” Lyn said. “It’s like wow, you get on and get off, and the flight is around 4 hours and 53 minutes so not that long.”
Art said that this isn’t the first time they have taken part in an inaugural flight event. In fact, when America West started flying to Acapulco, they flew on that inaugural flight and were as equally excited to be on this flight and take part in this historical event.
While many passengers were first time visitors to Jamaica, several had previously been. Cynthia Garber said she had been once for a wedding and was traveling again for a wedding. Her son, Joseph and daughter-in-law, Marie, were traveling with her (the three are pictured above right). “It is my nephew’s wedding tomorrow,” Joseph, who works in Corporate Security for US Airways said. “We’re excited about the flight and the timing worked out pretty well.”