Puerto Rico Airlift Capacity Up 13%
Puerto Rico has an air seat capacity that is up 13%, according to January data from OAG, an air travel intelligence company, for an uptick of 1.2% when compared with the same period in 2015.
That places Puerto Rico as the third largest country market in the Caribbean in terms of monthly seats after the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Puerto Rico dropped from being the second largest market last year, a result of surging seat capacity to Cuba that has jumped 15%.
According to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., most visitors to Puerto Rico come from the U.S. mainland, while the second largest group of visitors come from Europe. The breakdown of the European visitor market is as follows, according to the group: UK (18%), Spain (18%), Germany (16%), France (10%) and Italy (7%). Countries served by the Lufthansa Group make up 10% (Belgium – Brussels Airlines, Switzerland – SWISS, and Austrian – Austrian Airlines), none of which serve Puerto Rico directly, while the remainder of countries in Europe make up the final 21%.
Norwegian introduced twice-weekly service to San Juan from London Gatwick in November. The route is served by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, making Norwegian the first operator flying the aircraft to Puerto Rico.
In addition to its Gatwick service, Norwegian has also launched routes from its Copenhagen, Stockholm Arlanda and Oslo Gardermoen hubs to San Juan, allowing Denmark, Sweden and Norway to bring the total number of country markets served from Puerto Rico to 23.
Of the existing country markets, the U.S. remains No. 1 after seeing a rise in capacity of 8.7%, with the domestic market of Puerto Rico recording the biggest increase of 64%. Looking at decreases, the Dominican Republic market is down just under 18% when compared with last year.
JetBlue Airways remains the No. 1 airline operating in Puerto Rico, with 13 routes to the U.S. mainland, the biggest being the route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
Of the top 12 carriers, American Airlines has seen the biggest increase in seat capacity (39%), helped by the merger with US Airways.
The carrier that has incurred the biggest natural growth is United Airlines, with the Star Alliance member recording an increase in seats of 32%. Of the top 12, Southwest Airlines and Cape Air are down 2.9% and 12%, respectively.
Spanish national carrier Iberia announced that beginning May 15, it would reintroduce service to San Juan from its Madrid hub starting with thrice-weekly service, with flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.