JAMAICA AIR Shuttle will kick start the winter tourist season, flying twice weekly between Jamaica and Santiago de Cuba.
The local carrier made the announcement on Monday in a press release.
"As of Thursday, December 15, we will inaugurate service between the two countries," said Deryck Dwyer, the airline's marketing manager.
The flights which will operate on Thursdays and Sundays will connect Jamaica's capital city Kingston and tourist capital Montego Bay with Santiago de Cuba.
The news comes at time when reports from the region indicates that Cuba has sustained its position as the fastest-growing Caribbean destination, this year, with growth in stopover visitors of 9.5 per cent up to July.
Aware of the potential of such a partnership, Jamaica Air Shuttle, since March of this year, has operated scheduled charter services on the route while it pursued full scheduled-service authority from both authorities.
Of note is the fact that there has been no scheduled service between Jamaica and Santiago de Cuba since 2005 and no scheduled air connection between Jamaica and its closest neighbour since early 2010.
According to Dwyer, the destination is a good strategic choice for the airline, since hundreds of Jamaican students attend universities in Santiago de Cuba and surrounding provinces, and many Cuban professionals working in Jamaica originate in south central and eastern Cuba. This service will allow these commuters easy access.
Santiago is Cuba's second largest city with a population of approximately 500,000 people.
A modern international port of entry, the Antonio Maceo International Airport in Santiago, attracts flights from Europe and the Greater Antilles islands of the Caribbean.
Passengers on Jamaica Air Shuttle who are destined to or originate in Havana, will be processed through customs and immigration formalities in Santiago, and make convenient same-day connections on domestic flights operated by Cuban domestic airlines.
For those wishing to travel within Cuba by road or rail, Santiago is an important terminus with frequent service by train or luxury coach throughout the island, said the airline.