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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCONTINENTAL WILL FLY TO V.I. AGAIN

CONTINENTAL WILL FLY TO V.I. AGAIN

Continental Airlines' return to the territory this winter with daily flights from Newark International Airport was announced officially Tuesday at Government House.
Continental follows United Airlines — which announced in February that it would begin new flights this fall — as the second major carrier to announce service to the Virgin Islands this year. Several smaller and charter airlines have already begun new regional service in the past year.
"Today we celebrate the return of an old friend to the Virgin Islands travel market," Gov. Charles Turnbull said at Tuesday's announcement. "During the upcoming season, with Continental's help, we can look forward to an improvement in the number of filled hotels, beaches and businesses, and for a general improvement in the economic conditions of these islands.
"Continental is coming because they see positive developments in the U.S. Virgin Islands economy," Turnbull said.
Continental's new nonstop service will start Dec. 16, when it will begin flying once a day between Newark/New York and St. Thomas. The flights will be on Boeing 737-700 jets, which have 124 seats and, according to Continental's Caribbean director Alex Santana, "offer enhanced comfort for each passenger as well as state-of-art electronic entertainment systems at each seat."
The new St. Thomas flights are part of Continental's overall expansion into the Caribbean, during which the carrier has increased flights to San Juan and enlarged the planes it flies to the Dominican Republic, Santana said.
"Continental, as any responsible airline in the airline business, will be any place that they could see there is a business for Continental Airlines or is a tourist destination that we can serve in the Caribbean," Santana said.
Continental is also considering flights to St. Croix, acting Tourism Commissioner Monique Sibilly-Hodge said.
"For the fourth time in several months the territory has been blessed with the commitment of dedicated tourism partners to introduce new partnerships," Hodge said. "The Department of Tourism is very excited about the implications that the return of the carrier will have on the numbers of overnight visitors in territory.
"The benefits of the additional service will not only assist in stimulating the overall economy of these islands, but contribute to the revitalized industry," she said.
The new service is apparently the result of months of discussions between Continental, the V.I. government and private business, particularly the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association.
"Obviously Continental flying back from Newark is extremely exciting, because no matter how we try to diversify our market, the Northeast is still our core market, our essential market," Hotel Association President Richard Doumeng said.
"And to get somebody with Continental's prestige, the way they have turned their company around, they give us hope that we know we can turn our destination around," he said
The Hotel Association feels it is establishing a close working relationship with the government during the Turnbull administration.
"This is a good example again of the relationship we're forming with the Turnbull/James administration, that we are looking for ways to have the public and private sector work together, sharing ideas and sharing opportunities," Doumeng said.
Turnbull also spoke briefly about his recent trip to Europe, where he made a keynote speech at a widely televised July 4th celebration in Denmark, opened a new web-site aimed at attracting Danish tourists to the territory, and met with Danish officials about obtaining copies of West Indies archives.
Turnbull said he also toured a solid waste disposal system and a waste disposal site in England and Germany.
"I will be making a more comprehensive report on my trip abroad later this week," Turnbull said.
As in past "press conferences," however, Turnbull limited the media to questions about the Continental announcement.
Unlike former Gov. Roy Schneider, who held frequent, open press conferences, Turnbull since taking office has only presented "statements" — such as the one he made in April about payless paydays — and held restricted press conferences.
Doumeng said the recent announcements of new airline service prove that tourism in the territory is rebounding from post-Hurricane Marilyn lulls.
"If there's any doubt, Continental is saying to the world and to the travel industry that the United States Virgin Islands is indeed back," Doumeng said.

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Continental Airlines' return to the territory this winter with daily flights from Newark International Airport was announced officially Tuesday at Government House.
Continental follows United Airlines -- which announced in February that it would begin new flights this fall -- as the second major carrier to announce service to the Virgin Islands this year. Several smaller and charter airlines have already begun new regional service in the past year.
"Today we celebrate the return of an old friend to the Virgin Islands travel market," Gov. Charles Turnbull said at Tuesday's announcement. "During the upcoming season, with Continental's help, we can look forward to an improvement in the number of filled hotels, beaches and businesses, and for a general improvement in the economic conditions of these islands.
"Continental is coming because they see positive developments in the U.S. Virgin Islands economy," Turnbull said.
Continental's new nonstop service will start Dec. 16, when it will begin flying once a day between Newark/New York and St. Thomas. The flights will be on Boeing 737-700 jets, which have 124 seats and, according to Continental's Caribbean director Alex Santana, "offer enhanced comfort for each passenger as well as state-of-art electronic entertainment systems at each seat."
The new St. Thomas flights are part of Continental's overall expansion into the Caribbean, during which the carrier has increased flights to San Juan and enlarged the planes it flies to the Dominican Republic, Santana said.
"Continental, as any responsible airline in the airline business, will be any place that they could see there is a business for Continental Airlines or is a tourist destination that we can serve in the Caribbean," Santana said.
Continental is also considering flights to St. Croix, acting Tourism Commissioner Monique Sibilly-Hodge said.
"For the fourth time in several months the territory has been blessed with the commitment of dedicated tourism partners to introduce new partnerships," Hodge said. "The Department of Tourism is very excited about the implications that the return of the carrier will have on the numbers of overnight visitors in territory.
"The benefits of the additional service will not only assist in stimulating the overall economy of these islands, but contribute to the revitalized industry," she said.
The new service is apparently the result of months of discussions between Continental, the V.I. government and private business, particularly the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association.
"Obviously Continental flying back from Newark is extremely exciting, because no matter how we try to diversify our market, the Northeast is still our core market, our essential market," Hotel Association President Richard Doumeng said.
"And to get somebody with Continental's prestige, the way they have turned their company around, they give us hope that we know we can turn our destination around," he said
The Hotel Association feels it is establishing a close working relationship with the government during the Turnbull administration.
"This is a good example again of the relationship we're forming with the Turnbull/James administration, that we are looking for ways to have the public and private sector work together, sharing ideas and sharing opportunities," Doumeng said.
Turnbull also spoke briefly about his recent trip to Europe, where he made a keynote speech at a widely televised July 4th celebration in Denmark, opened a new web-site aimed at attracting Danish tourists to the territory, and met with Danish officials about obtaining copies of West Indies archives.
Turnbull said he also toured a solid waste disposal system and a waste disposal site in England and Germany.
"I will be making a more comprehensive report on my trip abroad later this week," Turnbull said.
As in past "press conferences," however, Turnbull limited the media to questions about the Continental announcement.
Unlike former Gov. Roy Schneider, who held frequent, open press conferences, Turnbull since taking office has only presented "statements" -- such as the one he made in April about payless paydays -- and held restricted press conferences.
Doumeng said the recent announcements of new airline service prove that tourism in the territory is rebounding from post-Hurricane Marilyn lulls.
"If there's any doubt, Continental is saying to the world and to the travel industry that the United States Virgin Islands is indeed back," Doumeng said.