(CNS Business): Southwest Airlines has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation to serve Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport daily from Fort Lauderdale beginning 4 June 2017, provided the service receives requisite governmental approvals. On the same date, the airline expects to begin new daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Belize and Cancun, alongside existing service to three cities in Cuba — Havana and Santa Clara, which it launched in December, and Varadero, which began in November 2016 — as well as Nassau in the Bahamas.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said the Grand Cayman flights by Southwest were the result of a two-year process of engagement with the Ministry and Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, and that it was “an incredible achievement for the Cayman Islands Tourism sector”.
“Our top source market for stay-over visitors is the United States and now our guests will have an option out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, via Southwest Airlines,” the minister said. “The US market continues to demonstrate that incremental business development is possible by engaging in strategic alliances and business relationships.”
Kirkconnell added, “Welcoming this award-winning airline into our destination will help to bring even more visitors to experience Caymankind and compelling product offerings that differentiate us from our competitors and will support the continued growth of our sector. The opportunity for the Cayman Islands is the strength in Southwest’s brand loyalty program and the new clients that will now consider our destination.”
“The strategic objectives of the Department of Tourism to increase visitation to the Cayman Islands which guides all of our destination marketing plans and we are very pleased to see this outcome,” said Tourism Director Rosa Harris. “This new partnership is the culmination of many meetings with the airline representatives and government agencies to make it possible. We are very excited to have gained this successful partnership with Southwest Airlines that will further strengthen the ease of travel to our destination and encourage additional growth in visitation.”