U.S. airlines are betting big on flights to and from the Caribbean and Latin America.
There could be some major changes to U.S. airline traffic between the United States and the Caribbean and Latin America.
With a booming middle class in Latin America and a strong dollar, U.S. airlines are opening up more hubs to service the two regions in the coming years, according to a CNN Money report.
At the center of all these changes is the airport in Houston, which is a major airport when it comes to traffic through Latin America and the Caribbean. Southwest Airlines is doubling its number of destinations by the end of the year, and expects to add more next year. JetBlue is also increasing its destinations from 19 to 35 there, and Spirit Airlines is increasing its flights from that hub as well.
While the Caribbean has always been a great destination for Americans, other factors are coming into play that makes this a particularly good bet for airlines.
For one thing, they don’t have to buy bigger aircraft to handle overseas traffic to Europe or Asia, so it’s a cost-saving measure for them. And with a stronger dollar, Americans may find that their money goes farther in Latin America, where many economies are in recession, making it an even more attractive destination than before.
But it’s not just the traffic going to those regions, but coming from there as well. The middle class is growing rapidly in Latin America, increasing by 50 percent in the 2000s and bringing many out of poverty. Latin Americans want to visit the United States, and with the extra cash, now they can.
All of this means that U.S. airlines could be greatly changing the way they organize their operations for air travel, focusing more attention in our backyard and not as much on big overseas travel across the Atlantic or Pacific. This could mean that that Caribbean vacation could be a bit more affordable, and a lot easier to get to.