Regional travel choices between Puerto Rico and neighboring Caribbean islands continue to expand, with the upcoming start of service by Air Turks and Caicos between San Juan and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Company officials made the announcement in the Dominican Republic, unveiling plans to launch daily flights between the two islands starting April 15, contingent on securing the necessary approvals before then.
The Air Turks and Caicos flights would all originate in Providenciales, thereby offering connections between Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and points beyond in the Eastern Caribbean, the Chairman of Air Turks and Caicos, Lyndon R. Gardiner, said.
The upcoming start of air connections among the three islands is a long way from when the Dominican Republic and Turks & Caicos began doing business several decades ago, “when folks often sailed from North Caicos to the Dominican Republic in fishing boats to trade dried conch for produce and rum,” Gardiner said.
“This new route is an important step in realizing [a] dream to unite the Caribbean islands through more convenient and expanded connections that promote trade and tourism,” said Gardiner to the Turks & Caicos Sun newspaper.
Puerto Plata is a popular tourist destination on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast that attracts thousands of visitors each year. During the ceremony, Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce President Amaurys Plá said with the opening of the new route would come new business opportunities for trading of goods and services as well as tourism.
Air Turks & Caicos began operating in 1991 as InterIsland Airways Charter Service. Some 12 years later, it changed its name to Air Turks & Caicos after the islands’ government pushed for the creation of a national airline. The change set off an expansion for the company that now has a fleet of 15 turbine aircraft accommodating between nine and 30 passengers per flight.
Puerto Rico has long been considered a Caribbean travel hub, hosting domestic and regional airlines that use San Juan as a main connection point for shorter inter-island flights.
Most recently, St. Croix-based Seaborne Airlines announced the expansion of services between the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and it’s island municipality of Vieques.
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