Jamaica is a beautiful island country located in the Caribbean Sea. With its stunning white sandy beaches and lush tropical jungle, it’s no wonder that Jamaica is such a popular tourist destination. With popularity comes demand, and demand requires capacity. With Jamaica’s increasing popularity, it is becoming more likely that a fourth international airport will be added to its existing offering of three. The newest proposal for a new international airport is eyeing Vernamfield in Clarendon as a possible option for its location.
Jamaica currently has three international airports, each servicing different parts of the country. There is Sangster International Airport in the popular tourist destination, Montego Bay. There is Ian Fleming International Airport near Ocho Rios. And finally, there is Norman Manley International Airport in the country’s capital, Kingston. While the existing airports are perfectly operational and constantly being upgraded, Prime Minister Andrew Holness argues that adding a modern airport built from the ground up would be beneficial in numerous ways.
“As we look to the future, it is inevitable that Jamaica may have to build from scratch a modern airport. We are trying with these three (Norman Manley International, Sangster International, and Ian Fleming International Airports) …always renovating and changing…and that will have to be, as they are all established airports,” Holness said. Holness went on to say that the advantages of building a new airport were plentiful. Things such as aircraft maintenance and repairs, pilot training facilities, and the potential for cargo and logistics operations were all reasons he stated for building a modern international airport.
The location selection of Vernamfield, a former US Air Force base during WWII, is about 90 kilometers from Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. It is closer to popular destinations such as Treasure Beach and the South Coast of Jamaica, and it is currently owned by the Airports Authority of Jamaica. The location is an ideal choice for a new international airport as it was used as one already at one point in history. The base has been closed since 1949, and the area remains clear for the addition of a new airport.
While the benefits to the country are apparent, travelers will also gain from the additional international airport. With an additional airport, travelers will have more options when looking for airline tickets to Jamaica. With more flight itineraries available, ticket prices are likely to decrease. As an additional benefit, travelers with plans in the southern region of Jamaica, such as Treasure Beach, will land much closer to their final destination.
Touching ground on Jamaica’s soil for a dream vacation is exciting. However, many travelers spend up to several hours after landing in a cab for their final approach to their accommodations. Having the option to land in an airport much closer to their final destination will allow travelers to spend as much time as possible enjoying themselves.
Airlines currently servicing Jamaica would undoubtedly be happy about the additional airport as well. Recently, several airlines have added or increased their services to Jamaica. Emirates airlines recently announced that for the first time ever, they will be offering non-stop flights to Jamaica. In another historic first, American Airlines announced that it would be the first airline to launch international flights between the United States and Ocho Rios. Similarly, Frontier Airlines recently launched new low-cost flights to Kingston, Jamaica, opening up a new pathway for Americans to Jamaica’s thriving capital.
As flights to Jamaica become more expensive due to high demand, it is welcome news that the country is considering the addition of another international airport. For travelers, more options are almost always a good thing, especially when it comes to flights, as they can be one of the most expensive parts of a trip. Travelers, businesses, and Jamaica itself would all stand to benefit from the proposed addition of a modern international airport in Jamaica.
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