March 9, 2004
  • JetBlue seeks to fly to DR
  • Competition to spur great fares
  • Playa Dorada Golf
  • Carlos Fuentes visits
  • James Otis is Master of the Ocean
  • Aficionados celebrate Dominican cigars
JetBlue seeks to fly to DR
JetBlue has requested authority from the US Department of Transportation to fly non-stop to the Las Americas and Cibao international airports in the Dominican Republic, serving the vicinities of Santo Domingo and Santiago, respectively. Pending the approval from the US authorities and later the DR government, the airline is proposing to operate a twice-daily service to Santiago, starting 10 June, and a daily flight to Santo Domingo, starting 17 June.
According to a press release from the New York-based airline, the decision comes following the success of the company's San Juan, Puerto Rico flights.
New York Governor George Pataki celebrated the news. "JetBlue Airways' decision to provide affordable, high-quality service from JFK Airport to the Dominican Republic is tremendous news for New Yorkers, particularly for the thousands of Hispanic New Yorkers of Dominican descent who have loved ones back home,'' he said.
"When we asked JetBlue to serve San Juan a few years ago, they came through and offered low fares and a great schedule between New York and Puerto Rico,'' said Senator Charles Schumer. "One of the most important issues facing the Dominican community in New York is being able to get to Santo Domingo and Santiago without paying through the roof. The next step is filling the seats on this new route so that we can convince JetBlue to add even more flights and more service to other destinations in the Caribbean.''
JetBlue is a low-fare, low-cost passenger airline providing high-quality customer service. JetBlue operates a fleet of 56 new Airbus A320 aircraft and plans to add another 13 such jets in 2004. The airline has 100 Embraer 190 aircraft on order, with options for an additional 100 with deliveries scheduled to begin in mid 2005. The airline currently operates 238 flights a day and serves 23 destinations in 11 states and Puerto Rico. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, travel is ticketless, all fares are one-way and a Saturday night stopover is never required.
Competition to spur great fares
Air travelers on the New York-Santo Domingo route stand to benefit from some very competitive fares. With giant airlines looking to grab or defend their market share, consumers can expect fare sales, price slashing and frequent flyer deals.
JetBlue is expected to offer market low rates, especially given the time slots for travel it is requesting, including a 2:20 am departure on one of the two flights from Santiago to New York, a 1:50 am departure from Santo Domingo to New York, and a 6:50 am departure from New York to Santiago.
JetBlue's decision to commence flights to the Dominican Republic this summer comes on the heels of Delta Airline's announcement that it would also begin flying to the Dominican Republic starting this summer. Delta offered great fares for those booking on the days leading up to the start of flights. American Airlines, the dominant player in the market, quickly matched their price.
Airline industry sources indicate that Delta is revving up to combat JetBlue's business out of John F. Kennedy, with a US$300-million six-year renovation project.
Playa Dorada Golf
The Central Bank announced the sale of the Playa Dorada Golf Course to the Playa Dorada Golf Club. The new company is an assortment of Playa Dorada resort owners, on whose behalf Abraham Selman Hasbun, the company president, signed the documents to effect the purchase. Central Bank Governor Jose Lois Malkun countersigned on behalf of the authorities. The 18-hole, par-72 course designed by American Robert Trent Jones held a price tag of US$5 million, with a 20% down-payment and six years for the payment of the balance. In addition to Selman, Playa Dorada Golf Club shareholders include Julio C. Llibre, Rafael Blanco Canto, Isidro Garcia Mercedes, Rafael Octavio Silverio Galan, Jose Luis Silverio Galan and Gilberto Ruben Galan. The Central Bank built the 780,811-square meter course, which has been in operation since 1976.
Carlos Fuentes visits
Distinguished Mexican author Carlos Fuentes is currently visiting the Dominican Republic, for a week's stay as guest to the La Romana home of Venezuelan tycoon Gustavo Cisneros. Fuentes is one of the premier Latin American authors, best known for his novels but also an acclaimed essayist, literary historian and author of numerous screenplays, dramas and short stories. His major works include: "Where the Air is Clear" (1958); "The Death of Artemio Cruz" (1962); "Terra Nostra" (1975); "The Hydra Head" (1978); "The Old Gringo" (1985); and "The Years with Laura Diaz" (2000). "Old Gringo," the movie adaptation, starred Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits. Fuentes' most recent novel is titled "Inez," a tale woven of music, passion and mystery, according to reviewers.
The author was born in Panama, but has lived most of his life in Mexico and is considered that country's most celebrated novelist. Most of Fuentes' novels and essays explore the history and cultural identity of Latin America, with particular focus on Mexico.
James Otis is Master of the Ocean
Consistence led American James Otis to win the title of Master of the Ocean 2004 during the Red Bull championship held last week in Cabarete, Puerto Plata. Otis was not the outright winner of any of the surf, kitesurf or windsurf individual events, but his accumulated points scored him the top rank. El Caribe reported that the athlete spent three months training in the waters of Cabarete, where 80 competitors last week vied for the honors of this triathlon-type event. "It's incredible. I will go back to the US at the end of April and I will be able to tell of the best experience in my life," said Otis to the El Caribe journalist covering the event. Marcus Bohm, as the creator of the championship event, explained that the competition is unique in its field because it challenges extreme-sport athletes to prove their versatility. Bohm says the event, now in its second year, promotes tourism and the development of young talent in the area. The winners in the individual categories were Dominicans Marcos Diaz in surf (who recently set a record for crossing Samana Bay and has attempted to cross the English Channel), Jose Luis Ciriaco in kitesurf and Tony Garcia in windsurf.
Aficionados celebrate Dominican cigars
A group of 75 cigar connoisseurs visited Santiago and Puerto Plata last month to participate in the Cigar Family Celebration Dominican Republic. The group members toured the Fuente factories and fields in Santiago. They also listened to David Luther, director of the IDDI Foundation, who provided an overview on the goals and achievements of the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation that is reaching out to assist five communities (Caribe, El Verde, Los Arroyos, Rancho Nuevo and Jengibre) with the construction and operation of a hospital, school, community center, sports court and baseball field. Last November 2003, the Fuente and Newman Cigar Company hosted the world's largest national cigar toast at the Grand Havana Room on Fifth Avenue in NYC to see over 5,000 cigar aficionados simultaneously toast the people of the DR for the production of their world-class cigars and for having raised US$320,000 for the cigar foundation effort. The tobacco enthusiasts were accommodated at the Flamenco Playa Dorada hotel and had time to enjoy Playa Dorada beach and golf course as part of their busy schedule.

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