This spring, the Dominican airline AraJetis set to launch low-cost flights from Santo Domingo to a host of destinations, including the USA. The airline will launch in May as the Caribbean’s first Ultra Low-Cost Carrier.
The airline was founded by Victor Pacheco Mendez and co-founded by Mike Powell, who was formerly the CFO for Wizz Air.
It has taken a few years for AraJet to come into effect: it has previously existed under the names Dominican Wings (2014-2018) and Flycana (2018-2021), with AraJet being the most recent re-branded name. There are currently 29 airlines operating from the Dominican Republic to the United States, with the American air carrier JetBlue being the most popular choice for travellers looking to fly to the Caribbean at a low cost.
In September 2021, the air carrier requested to include 30 new routes from the Dominican Republic to the U.S and beyond, including Aruba, Canada, Colombia, Grenada, Haiti, Mexico and Peru. These new routes were approved by the Junta de Aviación (JAC) in November, with a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft for Arajet being approved by Dominican inspectors in December.
The first Boeing aircraft for AraJet arrived ready for service at Las Américas International Airport, Dominican Republic, on March 3rd, sponsored by Bain Capital and Griffin Global Asset Management.
The aircraft was named Pico Duerte, after the highest peak not only in the Dominican Republic, but the entire Caribbean. The current AraJet fleet now consists of 4 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, with an order for 20 Boeing 737 MAX 200s. At the launch event for the airline on March 14th, founder Victor Pacheo Mendez stated he was “eager to expand” on the size of the fleet in the months to come.
The Boeing 737 MAX model uses less fuel than other aircraft and emits 14% less CO2 than older models, making it an environmentally friendly form of transportation for travellers. The airline aims to be cost-effective too. Vice President of sales for Boeing in the Caribbean and Latin America, Mike Wilson, said,
“Flying an exclusive 737 MAX fleet will enable Arajet to save on fuel, maintenance and operations costs and pass those savings on to its customers”.
The aircraft also boasts 40% less noise pollution than other planes, has 189 reclining seats and a high-tech air filtration system to minimise the risk of coming into contact with germs. Whilst cases of the novel Coronavirus have dropped in the Dominican Republic in the last month, AraJet’s air filtration system is an added comfort to travellers who may be worried about contracting the virus whilst flying.
Whilst the air carrier will offer flights to the U.S, it has not yet been confirmed which cities in particular AraJet will fly too.
The largest population of Dominicans in the U.S reside in New York and Massachusetts, suggesting that Arajet will fly to these locations. Other potential flight paths include flying from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida and Pennsylvania.
The launch of the aircraft is set to create various employment opportunities for people in the Dominican Republic: with 8.4% of the country’s GDP coming from tourism, the airline aims to create more than 4,000 jobs and transport over 7 million passengers once it launches next month.
This belief is shared by the president of the country, Luis Abinader. After receiving the fist official ticket for an AraJet flight, he publicly endorsed the Dominican airline as a business venture that could strengthen the market, encourage Dominicans to explore the U.S, and show Americans the beauty of Caribbean culture.
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