Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Flight cancellations causing jitters to tourism sector

Published:Tuesday | January 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM

As Winter Storm Juno dumps feet of snow on the United States (US) East Coast, flights to and from Jamaica to the affected areas have begun to be impacted.

When The Gleaner made checks with airlines, it was revealed that five flights that were to depart the island were cancelled yesterday.

Today, members of the tourism sector are waiting patiently for possible bad news on arriving flights.

Speaking with The Gleaner, Omar Robinson, a vice-president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), expressed concern about possible cancellations.

"If departures were cancelled, no doubt [hoteliers] would be seeing a little bump in occupancy. However, if arrivals were to be cancelled, that would not be a good thing for us," said Robinson who is also managing director of Round Hill Hotel.

Airlines issued advisories to customers informing them of policy changes with respect to rebooking and refunds.

In a statement, Caribbean Airlines said it "will waive change/cancellation fees and fare differences for customers travelling on Monday, January 26th through Tuesday, January 27 to/from New York, NY."

Similar arrangements have been made by JetBlue and US Airways, which will also waive cancellation fees for those travelling to affected areas.

Keep up to date

Members of the public are urged to be in contact with their travel agency or airline to keep up to date with the status of flights.

The snowfall produced by the winter storm has caused the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights, according to FlightAware, an independent flight-tracking website. LaGuardia in New York saw the most cancellations on Monday with 55 per cent of flights cancelled, while 37 per cent of the flights in and out of Philadelphia International were cancelled.

Areas most affected by the storm are New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. The storm is expected to continue producing snow through Wednesday.

richard.mitchell@gleanerjm.com