BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) -- With American Airlines adding two-nonstop flights to St Kitts in November, bringing the number of flights from the Sunshine State to nine weekly, the carrier’s vice president for Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America, Art Torno said the airline remains committed to the Caribbean region and plans to strengthen and expand its service through its Miami hub in particular.
"The centerpiece of our strategic vision for the Caribbean is our Miami hub. This year, which has been a transitional year and a challenging one in regard to our restructuring process, which began 11 months ago, we increased service to 28 international destinations from Miami, including 12 in the Caribbean," said Torno at a presentation at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's State of the Industry conference in St Kitts.
Torno forecast a 60% growth in the Miami hub in ten years, with much of that growth focused on the Caribbean as well as Mexico and Latin America.
Although the pullout of American Eagle from San Juan will be completed by March 31, 2013, "be assured that we are looking at and talking with other airlines to fill in for American Eagle from Miami and San Juan," Torno said.
"American will not leave a void in those Caribbean destinations that are critically important to us and to our Caribbean partners," he said.
"We are in deep negotiations with other airlines to augment our route system in the Caribbean and looking at adding capacity and service where it makes sense," Torno said.
American has served the Caribbean region since 1971 when it acquired Trans Caribbean Airlines, followed by the purchase of Eastern Airlines' Caribbean route system in 1989.
The carrier currently serves 33 Caribbean destinations.
"Our growth and success in the Caribbean region has been a collaborative effort involving governments, industry and hotel associations and other public and private sector partners," Torno said.