American Airlines and jetBlue battle for supremacy in the Dominican Republic; Punta Cana welcomes most new routes
The Dominican Republic, located in the Caribbean, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti occupying the remainder. With a population of around 10 million people, it is the second-largest Caribbean nation after Cuba. The country is served by four main airports at Punta Cana (PUJ), Santo Domingo (SDQ), Puerto Plata (POP) and Santiago (STI). In 2008, these four airports handled around nine million passengers in total, with Punta Cana the busiest (3.8 million), followed by Santo Domingo (3.0 million). Traffic peaks occur both in the summer and winter months thanks to the all year round warm climate, which attracts North Americans and Europeans looking to escape the cold winters.
Examining scheduled capacity data for last March (a peak month) reveals the dominance of US carriers at the country’s airports. Five of the top seven airlines are based in the US and the leading non-US carrier, Skyservice of Canada, sadly ceased operating at the end of last March.
Since then, jetBlue has added flights to Punta Cana with new daily services from New York JFK and a twice-weekly service from Boston, both in May.
New routes focus on Punta Cana
Several new services will be starting to the Dominican Republic this winter, predominantly to Punta Cana.
|31 October 2010||Transaero||Moscow Sheremetyevo||Punta Cana||2|
|2 November 2010||Aeroflot||Moscow Sheremetyevo||Punta Cana||1|
|7 November||Air Transat||Ottawa||Punta Cana||1|
|25 December 2010||Air Canada||Ottawa||Punta Cana||1|
|16 February 2011||AirTran||Atlanta||Punta Cana||2|
|3 May 2011||Thomson||East Midlands||Punta Cana||1|
|10 May 2011||Thomson||East Midlands||Puerto Plata||1|
|Source: anna.aero new route database|
As a result, the leading airlines in the Dominican Republic this December (another peak month) are still American Airlines and jetBlue, but several European carriers are now ranked in the top 12. Air Europa, Iberia and Transaero are all now ranked among the leading airlines, although there are still six US carriers among the leading dozen carriers.