Sunday, June 22, 2008

Troubled Skies

Did you know that Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marin International, located in San Juan, is the Caribbean's busiest airport? Perhaps, an unsurprising fact is the dependency of Puerto Rico's economy on the tourism industry. This was dealt a huge blow recently, when American Airlines decided to drastically decrease the number of flights coming in and out of the Island of Echantment. According to the local papers, the total number of daily flights will be reduced from 93 to 51. This is particularly bad news, considering that American Airlines practically owns the airport in San Juan. As the economy is officially in recession here, this decision certainly adds insult to injury. Subsequently, this reduction also leads to layoffs. An estimated 400 of American Airlines' employees, which amounts to a third of its workforce based in Puerto Rico, will be losing their jobs.

American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, will also be cutting down or entirely eliminating some of its flights in the Caribbean. Their flights will be reduced from 38 to 18. All changes will take effect this coming September. Citing high oil prices, many airlines have been forced to alter its routes in hopes of cutting costs and coming up with solutions to improve the bottom line. Increasing airline fares and charging for checked-in baggage are such examples. Recently, US Airways even decided to charge for non-alchoholic beverages (including water!) served onboard. Isn't this just ridiculous? The going is certainly getting tougher.

If you're planning on traveling to the Caribbean, do plan ahead. From the way things look, booking early will probably be the smartest move.

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