MONTEGO BAY, St James — With 20,000 new hotel rooms in the offing, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has put MBJ Airports, which operates Sangster International Airport (SIA), on notice that the facility will require further infrastructural and other expansion to accommodate the anticipated growth in passengers.
Currently a US$34-million runway extension work is under way at SIA as part of a wider US$70-million runway expansion project.
“We have 20,000 new rooms that are starting, or under construction. We’re bringing some 3,000 of those by the end of this year. That’s important and I’m doing a study now to determine the economic impact of these 20,000 new rooms over the next four to five years. It’s going to require several more things of us. And this airport here in Montego Bay is going to have to respond to infrastructure development and expansion in order to deal with this,” Bartlett stated last Friday afternoon at Frontier Airlines’ launch of three new scheduled non-stop flights from three major American cities.
“So the expansion has to happen. When I go to Kingston, I have another discussion for them. I want you to know that this year our budget is being augmented to support new markets. New markets mean new air partners and new air partners for us are going to flow from the further distances,” he added.
Responding to the charge, chief executive officer of MBJ Shane Munroe said that in terms of growth and future expansion, the company intends to be in line with the growth in traffic.
“We are adding additional capacity with technology. So that is one of the big drivers for us. We are working with our airline partners in terms of optimising their processes,” Munroe said.
“Biometric is something that we are piloting. We intend to be a leader in the region in terms of that.”
Frontier’s three new non-stop flights to Montego Bay started last Thursday with service from St Louis. The following day saw service from Denver, while on Saturday the carrier opened the route from Chicago Midway International Airport.
Each flight will operate three times per week.
Frontier’s senior manager for international sales and marketing William Evans announced that starting in May, the airline will add non-stop service thrice weekly from Dallas, Texas.
“So we’re very, very excited,” Evans stated.