In December 2009, Air Canada launched its very first direct link between Montreal and Fort-de-France, in Martinique.
Ten years later, it can be said that the airline has come a long way.
PAX is currently on location in Martinique, alongside a delegation of representatives from Air Canada and the Martinique Tourism Committee, who are celebrating a decade of uninterrupted service.
Currently, Martinique is served from Montréal-Trudeau (YUL) to Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (TFFF) by five weekly direct flights with Air Transat and Air Canada .
If the former operates only during the winter season, Air Canada offers an annual service of two weekly flights. A third flight runs only during the high season (from Nov. 15, 2019 to April 8, 2020) on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, however, Air Canada says it hopes to add a third weekly flight year-round.
"Martinique is a destination with great potential," said Sebastian Domanski, manager, revenue management, Air Canada. "We will continue to work hard in collaboration with the Martinique Tourism Committee, in particular to add seats to our planes."
The Martinique Tourism Committee also recognizes the importance of having more flights during the destination's high season.
"We would like to start it three to four weeks earlier, in November, and make it last three to four more weeks at the end of the season," said François Baltus-Languedoc, director general of the Martinique Tourism Committee.
Another avenue considered by the two partners is the creation of new packages with Air Canada Vacations, including flights, activities and/or accommodations, with preferential and attractive rates offered mainly during off-peak tourist periods.
Until all of these declarations are officially ratified, the Martinique Tourism Committee wants to continue to strengthen its visibility and notoriety in Canada, especially among professionals in the travel industry.
Canadians keep coming
In 10 years,Martinique has gained popularity in the hearts of Canadians.
In 2009, only 1,292 travellers visited Île aux Fleurs, according to the tourism board's figures.
But a decade of round trip flights from Canada has increased this figure by 20, growing that visitation number to represent 26,204 tourists.
This growth has even accelerated significantly in the past three years, with the number of air seats increasing, from 29,858 in 2017 to 40,071 in 2019.
A historic record was reached despite the stopping of Norwegian flights and the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAXs that Air Canada had to use to provide this air link.
Pictured: From left to right: Stéphane Bolo, key accounts manager at Air Canada; Ingrid Labeau, promotion and marketing coordinator Martinique Tourism Committee in Canada; Sebastian Domanski, service manager, turnover management at AC; Nathalie Bruneau, head of pricing at AC; François Baltus-Languedoc, director general of the Martinique Tourism Committee; Yanisse Vaton, commercial manager of the Bambou hotel; Muriel Wiltord-Latamie, America directorate of the Martinique Tourism Committee, and Gaétan Paderna, marketing, communication and promotion director of the Martinique Tourism Committee.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!