By Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Possible Open Skies Agreement Between Dominican Republic, US
Last week, the process began to take another historic step for aviation in the Dominican Republic by starting negotiations with the U.S. government to establish an open skies agreement between the two countries.
Although it is true that the Dominican Republic is not a favorite vacation destination for American tourists, this agreement could generate a greater influx of tourists to the Caribbean country. These negotiations have no other purpose than to increase air operations between the two countries, creating more operations and frequencies than currently exist between the two markets.
However, if the open skies agreement between both nations is approved, further regulation will likely be necessary to guarantee fair competition between airlines.
According to a statement published by the Civil Aviation Board, this agreement also includes better fares, with a shift toward more competitive prices for the Dominican market. In addition, the agreement encourages the launch of more routes, frequencies and commercial and tourist promotion exchange between the Dominican Republic and the U.S.
A Longtime Goal
In 2021, the Dominican Civil Aviation Board approved 12 commercial cooperation agreements between airlines of different nationalities, thus promoting connectivity and the development of tourism in the Dominican Republic.
Last year, it also approved 48 new routes and flight frequencies, signing new air service agreements, ratifying and amending those already made. In addition, 5,491 non-scheduled or charter flights were authorized for exclusive cargo air operations and 5,909 for passenger and combined transport, totaling a general total of 11,400 charter operations.
Likewise, the Dominican Republic also had a significant increase in the number of air passengers, closing the year with 10,753,720 people transported through Dominican airports. That number led to estimated direct and indirect income for the country of $9,926 million and the recovery of more than 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Recently, the Dominican Civil Aviation Board granted permission to Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas and Jetblue Airways Corporation for the operation of new routes that will connect the Dominican Republic with Europe and a new route between the U.S. and the Caribbean country.
Plus Ultra will operate the route between Madrid and Santo Domingo. It will be covered by its Airbus A340-300 and/or A340-600 aircraft, with capacities of 275 to 360 passengers. The Spanish carrier will start this operation with four weekly flights: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline plans to transport approximately 42,900 passengers during the first year of operation.
Likewise, the Civil Aviation Board approved Jetblue’s request to include the route between Boston and Puerto Plata, which had been on trial for a month. This new route will start on May 7 and will be carried out on an Airbus A320, with one weekly flight on Saturdays until December 2022. Jetblue estimates an annual offering of 14,340 seats for this new route.