KINGSTON: Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has announced that an agreement to introduce direct flights from Russia to Jamaica has been finalized.
Dr. McNeil said Russian airline Transaero will begin nonstop service from Moscow to Montego Bay using a Boeing 777 with 300 seats as of January 1, 2013.
McNeill said the agreement was finalized following discussions with officials from Transaero, during his recent trip to Russia.
“This flight is being organized by Russian tour operator Biblio Globus in association with Transaero airlines,” said McNeil. “The flights will run for three months initially, however we are in discussions with them to continue into the summer and to provide the service for the entire year.”
The introduction of flights by Transaero airlines next year will be a major step towards facilitating travel between both countries, said Russian Ambassador to Jamaica, Vladimir Polenov.
“I’m sure the Russian tourist invasion will bring a wave of people from my country to this island to explore and discover a lot of things,” said Polenov. “The direct flight from Moscow to MoBay means that not only will Russian tourists visit Jamaica but we are hoping that Jamaicans will come to Russia.”
Expounding on Jamaica’s efforts to open up the Russian market, McNeill said plans were also being formalized to fly in a group of Russian media representatives to help promote “Destination Jamaica” in Russia.
“We are very optimistic that the Russian market will provide significant returns, as the minimum stay by visitors from that market is 10 nights, twice the average stay of visitors from markets such as the U.S.,” he said.
Transaero is the second largest airline out of Russia, which flies to 40 countries on 130 routes and has hubs in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The airline operates flights between Moscow and Belorussia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Transaero also operates flights out of other countries such as Austria, Cyprus and Greece.