WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — People are circling the date on their calendars for the take-off of a new non-stop flight from Bradley International Airport to Jamaica.
Beginning this December Spirit Airlines will make the route available. The flight will not just be about sun and fun as it’s opening the door for big commerce.
The West Indian community recently celebrated their heritage at a big parade in Hartford. The capitol city region has the fifth largest West Indian population in the country.
Andrea Kiddie says, “We are really excited. Really excited for that flight.”
At Dunns River Jamcian Restaurant in Hartford, the buzz is not over the oxtail. It’s about the non-stop flights from Connecticut to Jamaica, where pleasure and business will meet front and center.
Mark Brown the owner of Dunns River Jamaican Restaurant explains, “I like the idea because we have to wait for the product to reach New York, and Miami before it gets here. We want to come straight here to us first.”
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Leaders recently announced four times a week, that flights from the island will go between Bradley International Airport and Montego Bay on Spirit Airlines.
Commissioner David Lehman from the Dept. of Economic and Community Development successfully worked out the logistics. “I have heard the expression it takes a village. You could say it takes an island,” said Lehman.
The Caribbean Trade Council started talking to state leaders about this connection more than a decade ago.
Leaders say there is such a huge West Indian population here in Connecticut, they think this is going to be a success. However, the state did make a deal with the airline just in case things don’t get off the ground.
There are $2 million dollars set aside in the state budget to subsidize the airline with the agreement covering two years.
“Whether it’s for people who want to go visit family, people who might actually do business right on the island and come back and then do business in Connecticut or just for travel and leisure. You could see a lot of exciting developments here,” said State House Speaker, Matt Ritter.
Attorney Tanya Dorman says when families have a death everyone leaves and heads to Jamaica for the funeral.”It’s just culturally significant for island folks.”
There will be 200 flights a year to the island, which will greatly convenience Connecticut residents who plan to travel to Jamacia.
“I have many clients who’re buying real estate in Jamaica. They’re doing different things. They cannot at times physically go. So for me, it’s easier to travel back and forth to get documents signed, ” added Dorman.