Sangster International Airport is located just east of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Starting in March, Cleveland will be just four hours away from this Caribbean destination thanks to the return of the first direct flights on this route since 2017 (Shutterstock). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
More flights, 500 jobs due from new crew base
Joined by Cleveland airport officials, Frontier Airlines today announced that it will be starting nonstop flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica in March with an introductory low fare. The new, direct flight is the first new international flight from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport resulting from its new crew base there. But it may not be the last.
According to Frontier’s Web site, the low-fare airline will begin offering direct flights between Cleveland and Montego Bay (airport code MBJ) starting Saturday, March 9, 2024. The flights, numbered 116 southbound and 117 northbound, will make same-day round trips on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Travel on other days will be via a transfer at Orlando, FL (airport code MCO).
In March, southbound flights will depart Cleveland at 9:00 am and arrive Montego Bay roughly four hours later in the Central Time Zone at 11:56 am. Northbound flights will depart MBJ at 1:16 pm and return to Cleveland at 6:08 pm. An introductory round-trip fare of $159 is offered. However, most tickets will likely fall in the range of $384-640 for Standard and Discount Den club fares, Frontier’s Web site shows.
In April, the schedule will shift a bit. Flight 116 will leave Cleveland at 9:25 am and arrive MBJ at 12:23 pm. Northbound Flight 117 will leave MBJ at 1:38 pm and return to Cleveland at 6:40 pm. Flights on Frontier’s Web site can be booked through Aug. 12, 2024 but the $159 fare will be offered on select tickets until June 14.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport officials today proudly announced that Frontier Airlines will start in March 2024 direct Cleveland-Jamaica flights, operating three days each week (Division of Port Control).
This is Cleveland’s first nonstop service to Montego Bay since 2017, said Cleveland’s Director of Port Control Bryant Francis said. When booking, Frontier’s Web site contains a cautionary note that “The route you have selected is Subject to Government Approval.” The Denver-based airline obviously expects the route’s approval. Frontier also says the aircraft to be used on this route will be an Airbus A320.
“This is an exciting milestone for Frontier and Cleveland as we expand our operation to offer service to a new international destination for CLE — Jamaica,” said Josh Flyr, vice president, network and operations design, Frontier Airlines, in a written statement. “Montego Bay is rich in history and offers a stunning array of beaches, along with a multitude of fun in the sun activities. Getting there is now easy and affordable thanks to Frontier’s ‘Low Fares Done Right.’”
Montego Bay is Jamaica’s third-largest city, a major port for cruise ships, and home to several resorts including Margaritaville Jamaica, Secrets Resort, and IHG’s Iberostar. Jamaica also has popular hotel chains including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Sandals. Montego Bay is Frontier’s only destination airport in Jamaica.
The new international flight is due to Frontier’s March opening of a new crew base at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The base is expected to employ up to 110 pilots, 250 flight attendants, 50 aircraft maintenance personnel and at least 50 additional airport employees within its first year of operation, airport officials said at the announcement last month.
Passenger loads have been healthy on Aer Lingus’ new Cleveland-Dublin, Ireland flight that began earlier this year. That along with Frontier’s new crew base and new aircraft could portend further transatlantic expansions in the coming years (KJP).
When adding in the airport positions, nearly 500 new jobs are planned by Frontier in 2024. The airline is expected to generate nearly $80 million annually in local wages with further growth anticipated in the coming years, said Mayor Justin Bibb and airport officials at the city’s Division of Port Control.
The airline is actively recruiting for Cleveland-based flight attendants and will be holding an information and recruiting event at 8 a.m. Dec. 19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7230 Engle Rd., Middleburg Heights. Those interested in becoming flight attendants are encouraged to attend. Business attire is recommended. Candidates must present a resume and valid passport during the event. Additionally, all candidates must complete an online application prior to the event.
“We are grateful for the confidence Frontier has in the Cleveland market and for the economic boost that will follow from this investment,” said Mayor Bibb of Frontier’s new crew base.
Cleveland will now have non-stop flights to 36 cities including six international destinations, with the Montego Bay flight added, according to Hopkins International Airport’s Web site. Offering more nonstops helps make it easier for the city to attract more employers, officials said.
Cleveland flights to Montego Bay will expand the routes to the Caribbean region, including this one to Cancun, Mexico, plus Punta Cana, San Juan and Nassau (KJP).
“Frontier Airlines has been a key partner in helping CLE rebuild and redefine our market over the last nine years,” Francis added. “This announcement further solidifies Frontier’s commitment to both Cleveland Hopkins and Northeast Ohio as an increasingly important member of the business community.”
Frontier has nonstops to 17 cities including two international ones, both in the Caribbean region — Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It also flies nonstop to San Juan in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Other airlines offer international flights from Cleveland to Nassau, Bahamas; Dublin, Ireland; and Toronto, Canada.
More international flights may be considered by Frontier when they take delivery of new Airbus A321XLR single-aisle planes by 2026, according to Aviation Week Network, an industry publication. At the October 2022 Routes World conference in Las Vegas, Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said flights to South America and especially to Europe were on his radar.
The 4,700-nautical-mile range of A321XLR aircraft would put destinations as far away as Istanbul, Turkey within range of Cleveland. But destinations like London, England’s Standsted Airport or Shannon, Ireland are probably more likely. Flying transatlantic is “definitely in consideration,” Biffle said.