~ Minister Arrindell makes blunder ~
PHILIPSBURG–Word travelled fast on Tuesday morning when Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Irania Arrindell made an abrupt announcement on a local radio programme that airline JetBlue will be terminating its service to the island in June.
Arrindell said she planned to meet with JetBlue management next week to convince them to continue their service to the island. However, JetBlue denies terminating flights. It said it had heard of the rumour on Tuesday and was surprised at the Minister’s announcement.
JetBlue corporate confirmed to The Daily Herald on February 18 that it had decided to drop its once daily San Juan/St. Maarten route due to underperformance. The final flight is set for May 3.
JetBlue Manager of Corporate Communications Latin America and Caribbean Elizabeth Ninomiya reaffirmed to this newspaperon Tuesday afternoon, “The service between St. Maarten and San Juan will discontinue due to the route’s performance. However, our other routes continue to operate. JetBlue’s routes from St. Maarten to its focus cities of JFK [New York City – Ed.] and Boston will continue.
“Customers who are booked for travel between St. Maarten and San Juan on or after the effective discontinued date will automatically receive a US $100 JetBlue service credit. Customers who have questions can call 1-800-JetBlue (538-2583) for assistance.”
Arrindell said in the radio interview that JetBlue had taken the decision due to the low numbers it had been experiencing. This newspaper contacted the Minister on Tuesday for comment about her interview, but no answers had been received up to press time.
Princess Juliana International Airport SXM’s Deputy Managing Director also was contacted by this newspaper for comment, but communications with the airport have stalled since the departure of Director Regina Labega
Source: The Daily Herald JetBlue not stopping service to St. Maarten