The Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic has been recovering well, with Santo Domingo and Santiago, the two main cities, recovering fastest. These cities alone will have nearly 400 departures to the US next week, with the US crucial for the Dominican Republic’s rebound.
Think of the Caribbean and images of tropical beaches, white sand, and warm turquoise sea will come to mind. The island of the Dominican Republic has this in spades. But it’s also a strong market for visiting friends and relatives (VFR) demand from the large Dominican diaspora in the United States.
This mixed demand has been so important in the Dominican Republic’s recovery. No airports highlight this more than Santo Domingo and Santiago, the country’s two main cities.
Santo Domingo and Santiago stand out
According to available data, Santo Domingo’s passengers in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 – January to March – were down by 31.8%, similar to Santiago’s. This was mainly on the back of rebounding demand from the US. This was helped by the Dominican Republic government and the national bank, which provided insurance to cover coronavirus-related costs for visitors to the country. This was recently extended to cover the summer.
Additional flight capacity
Looking at commercial aircraft movements, the airports recorded strong additional capacity from the US, compensating for low seat load factors imposed by onboard distancing with some carriers. Santo Domingo’s movements, for example, were down by just 15.3%.
This isn’t surprising given the emphasis on tourism and VFR demand. Indeed, Simple Flying recently showed that JetBlue is increasing its capacity to the Dominican Republic. On September 4th, for example, it will have seven departures a day from New York JFK to Santo Domingo, making the route JetBlue’s joint second-thickest.
It has also been helped by Frontier and Eastern Airlines both launching service to the country. Frontier now serves Orlando, Miami, and San Juan, the latter four-weekly, while Eastern will resume Boston and Miami in May using Boeing 767s.
Santo Domingo’s core long-haul route, Madrid is Santo Domingo’s, will have 13 departures next week across Iberia and Air Europa. Meanwhile, COPA will have 11 departures to Panama City, crucial for connections across Central and South America, rising to 35-weekly later this year.
Nearly 400 weekly departures to the US
Of course, Santo Domingo and Santiago revolve around the US. Next week, they’ll have nearly 400 departures to the country – around 60 a day – with American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, and United. Miami to Santo Domingo and Santiago are key routes for American’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, Simple Flying showed.
From these two airports, 10 US airports will be served, as shown below, with New York JFK understandably having over one-third of the total:
- New York JFK: 140 weekly departures
- Miami: 78
- Newark: 70
- Boston: 28
- Ft. Lauderdale: 17
- Orlando: 8
- Charlotte: 7
- Atlanta: 7
- Washington Dulles: 5
- Philadelphia: 7
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