JetBlue charmingly late for Puerto Rico inaugural

POSTED: 11/18/11 5:14 AM

GREAT BAY – JetBlue’s inaugural service between Puerto Rico and St. Maarten had the Caribbean charm of being just over 30 minutes late on Thursday. The flight was scheduled to arrive 2:56 p.m. but did not touch down until around 3:32 p.m. after what the pilot Scott Farnsworth called a smooth and beautiful flight.
Two fire trucks from the airport’s fire department gave the Embraer 109 aircraft the traditional water cannon salute shortly after it touched and taxied to gate A1. Passengers then hurried from the aircraft, pausing only briefly to accept welcome gifts for hostesses in cultural wear.
“Welcome back home for if home is where the heart is, then I have no doubt JetBlue’s heart is in St. Maarten. JetBlue has proven to be a perfect and loyal match for our destination. When some were screaming about the need for guaranteeing seats, JetBlue focused on strengthening its relationship with St. Maarten. It is a relationship that has been growing by leaps and bounds, to the extent that it could now be said that JetBlue has changed the landscape of tourism on the island,” Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport Regina Labega said.
Thursday’s ceremony was meant to give a warm third welcome to JetBlue, which already had flights coming to St. Maarten from New York and Boston. Indications that the airline is considering operating three flights per day in the near future were also welcomed by both Labega and Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger.
“April 1 was a dark day for St. Maarten as there was no direct flight to Puerto Rico. This was difficult for an island that at one point had seven daily flights to Puerto Rico. So government decided this is something we needed to get back. I am also happy that we stuck to our guns that we would not guarantee seats, choosing instead to assist with marketing funds. One flight per day is great, but two or three would be nicer,” the deputy prime minister said.
JetBlue’s General Manager in St. Maarten Marc Boasman acknowledged the three year relationship between the airline and the country which has led to thousands of people flying to and from St. Maarten.
“We give you our simple, heartfelt thanks,” Boasman said.
Thursday’s launch, which coincided with several others, is being celebrated with the waiving of fees until December 17.

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