(PRESS RELEASE) – The move by American Airlines to introduce preflight testing for passengers travelling to Jamaica, the Bahamas and eventually the rest of CARICOM is a game-changer and can provide a major boost to help revive the region’s travel and tourism sector.
This bold new move will significantly cut down the wait time for persons who require a negative COVID-19 test, and represents a huge leap forward in restoring travel to the region.
American Airlines will launch initial testing at the Miami International Airport for Jamaican residents travelling to their home country, and once this is successful it will be available to all passengers traveling to Jamaica including U.S. citizens.
Chairman of Sandals Resorts International the Hon. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart has commended American Airlines on its leadership and innovation at this critical time, stating that the preflight testing will address one of the major impediments to travel at the moment.
“We live in a changing world and as we take steps to protect people’s lives, we also need to find solutions that will protect their livelihoods, The long wait times for tests continue to be a disincentive to travel therefore we are very excited that American Airlines will be introducing preflight testing which offers hope for many countries dependent on travel and tourism. It is encouraging to see them being able to embrace science and technology in order to provide solutions in this new normal. We look forward to the successful implementation of this protocol not just for Jamaica but for the entire Caribbean.”
Jamaican Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks along with Minister of Tourism and Aviation for the Bahamas Dionisio D’Aguilar have both hailed the move, which Ambassador Marks feels has significant implications not just for tourism, but also for other key sectors of the economy that have been negatively impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Chairman of CARICOM Dr. Ralph Gonzalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines agrees, ‘We are pleased that American Airlines has taken the lead to initiate this exciting COVID-19 pre-departure testing programme. The Caribbean Community welcomes this important progress to reopen markets with the health and safety of our citizens being of paramount importance, and we’ll be monitoring this programme very closely as it ramps up in our region.”
President of American Airlines Robert Isom has said AA remains committed to tackling the challenge and reimagining how it delivers a safe and healthy travel experience for its customers.
“Our plan for this initial phase of preflight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.”
Mr. Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales for Unique Vacations, the Worldwide Representative for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, said the move by American Airlines is a bold one in the current environment, and provides a great level of confidence for persons wanting to travel, particularly from North America.