Roseau, Dominica (TDN) -- With the date fast approaching when American Airlines suspend its Eagle service from San Juan to Dominica, a regional airline has announced plans to begin flying from Puerto Rico to Dominica.
Beginning on April 1, 2013, Seaborne Airline, which is based in St Croix will operate flights originating from Puerto Rico into Dominica’s Melville Hall airport. The airline will also fly to Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The new routes will be flown with 34-seat Saab turboprops with two pilots and in-flight service. News of the new arrangement is being welcomed in Dominica where there has been much concern about the closing down of American Eagle, which is a key carrier into Dominica.
Seaborne is also positioning itself to take on much of the American Eagle traffic and have moved to secure major arrangements with American Airlines. On Feb. 18, Seaborne launched its first interline arrangement with the company allowing for the transfer of baggage between the two airlines on the ramp at San Juan’s airport.
The airline also eventually plans to issue boarding passes on American flights and have its flights displayed and sold on AA's website as part of the new arrangement, according to Gary Foss, Seaborne's president.
In responding to the announcement from Seaborne Airlines, Civil aviation minister, Rayburn Blackmoore said “I want to give the assurance, as minister responsible for civil aviation, that everything will be done to ensure that the appropriate license will be given in time to facilitate the entry of this airline.”
Meanwhile, Blackmoore has announced the issuing of a license to the Guadeloupe-based Air Antilles Express to provide airlift to Dominica from the neighboring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The initial flights will be on what the minister described as “small aircraft”. Many in Dominica take this to mean either 9 or 19-seat aircraft.