Caribbean airline Winair is about to make travel throughout the Caribbean a whole lot easier with two recent announcements. Having just agreed to a new partnership with a major U.S. carrier, the airline has also announced the purchase of two new planes, which will increase service and destinations throughout the Caribbean.
Currently, Winair flies to 12 destinations throughout the Caribbean – Antigua, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, Haiti, Saba, San Juan, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and Tortola. The airline provides connections between many of the smaller Caribbean islands that can’t be accessed directly from the U.S. and only are accessible via inter-Caribbean flights, like Saba and St. Eustatius.
Winair has been servicing the island nations of the Caribbean since 1961 and currently operates two types of planes – 19-passenger Twin-Otter planes and 48-passenger ART 42 Twin-Turboprop planes. The airline has partnered with Guadeloupe-based Air Antilles for the past six years for the operation of the ART planes, which has proved to be so successful that Winair has recently ordered two new ART aircraft to add to its fleet next year. Winair will operate the new ART aircraft itself as it continues to expand its business throughout the Caribbean.
In early 2023 the company will see the delivery of two additional ART 42-500 series aircraft, the first in March 2023, and the second in April 2023. The first plane will add additional service to Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, and Port au Prince in Haiti. It will also bring a service to a new island destination – Bonaire. Winair’s second new ART plane will add to the existing service to Antigua and Tortola, and add new routes to St. Lucia and Barbados.
St. Maarten-based Winair has begun a new interline agreement with JetBlue, a partnership that will make travel to the Caribbean much easier. Now, Caribbean-bound passengers can book their entire journey through JetBlue to any of Winair’s destinations.
It will now also be possible to check their luggage through to their final Winair destination, provided their trip includes the minimum connecting time between the two airlines, which can range from 60 – 120 minutes, depending on the partner airline. Additionally, when booking one ticket for the entire journey, passengers are able to more easily make changes to their itinerary, and if one of the flights is delayed, the airlines will rebook for them. Without an interline agreement, delays and changes are more complicated.
Michael Cleaver, President and CEO of Winair, stated that “The interline agreement between Winair and JetBlue demonstrates the confidence and vision both airlines share in St. Maarten and the surrounding region, and will provide growth for PJIAE [Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten] and the region.”
Interline agreements make it easier for passengers to transfer between two airlines without the need to book separate tickets or recheck bags between connections. For instance, now passengers wanting to travel from Boston (BOS) to Tortola (EIS) in the British Virgin Islands can book their entire itinerary through JetBlue and simply check their bags once in Boston and collect them at their destination in Tortola.
The plane will still stop in St. Maarten (SXM), and passengers will need to switch aircraft, but the new partnership should make the entire journey more seamless. Previously JetBlue passengers would need to disembark in SXM, collect their baggage, and then check in for the next flight and re-check their luggage.
Winair currently has interline ticketing agreements with 10 other airlines, including Air France, British Airways, KLM, Caribbean Airlines, and United.
The addition of the new planes will allow for new service to Bonaire, St. Lucia, and Barbados, three popular but often difficult to get to destinations. Bonaire, which is located off the coast of Venezuela, is known for terrific water sports and diving, as well as unspoiled beaches. Barbados is a popular tourist destination that boasts some of the best beaches in the world as and vibrant culture. St. Lucia is a gorgeous country full of lush mountains, waterfalls, and an active volcano.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com