JetBlue ups pressure on Air Jamaica in Kingston

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JetBlue Airways is further stepping up competition against Air Jamaica as the Jamaican flag carrier prepares to transition its operations to Caribbean Airlines.

JetBlue says in a statement today that it will add a second daily nonstop between Kingston and New York JFK in June - less than a year after launching the route.

The airline began competing with Air Jamaica when JetBlue entered its first Jamaican market, Montego Bay, in May 2009 with service from New York JFK. In October 2009 JetBlue launched services from JFK to Kingston, another Air Jamaica route.

"Based on the tremendous support we've received from Jamaican travellers, who continue to ask for more flights and more options from JetBlue after just eight months of service, we are pleased to offer this increase in service to New York," JetBlue vice president of network planning Scott Laurence says in a statement.

As the low-cost carrier prepares to bring additional Airbus A320 flights to Kingston, Air Canada plans to increase its weekly frequencies from Toronto to Kingston from two to four starting in May. Air Canada will also add capacity on the route by using a Boeing 767 aircraft on some of the additional flights instead of an A319.

New York and Toronto will be two of only five international destinations which will remain in Air Jamaica's network as of the middle of next month. The ailing state-owned flag carrier has been reducing capacity ahead of its planned 12 April transfer of operations to Trinidad and Tobago flag carrier Caribbean Airlines.

For example, Air Jamaica dropped services to Orlando last week - only one month after both JetBlue and AirTran Airways launched services on the Orlando-Montego Bay route.

In addition to JetBlue and Air Jamaica, Delta Air Lines currently links New York JFK with Kingston, according to schedules in Innovata.