Little more than a month ago, the U.S. Virgin Islands were struggling to overcome damage inflicted by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. And although the territory has still not completely recovered, thanks to the progress so far made, two U.S. airlines announced that they will consider upping their daily nonstop flights to the islands.
Both Delta and JetBlue will continue flights to St. Thomas and St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands tourism commissioner announced this week.
JetBlue will fly daily between San Juan and St. Croix and St. Thomas. Delta will fly from Atlanta to St. Thomas through April, increasing the number of flights in the end of December into early January.
King Airport on St. Thomas reopened to limited commercial flights on September 28, a little over a week after Hurricane Maria. Airlines are offering one daily flight until repairs on the airport are complete, which the Port Authority hopes to finish by mid-December. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix reopened on October 5.
In the weeks after the hurricane, relief efforts began clearing the way for tourism, an estimated 13 percent of the territory’s GDP. Only a few weeks after the second hurricane, the governor of the islands opened up ports to cruises. Relief crews restored Magens Bay and The Buccaneer Hotel, two popular destinations for tourists.
Nearly all hotels on St. Croix have reopened and are accepting guests, according to the tourism board. A handful of resorts and hotels on St. John and St. Thomas will remain closed through the 2018 season.
There are still residents without power. A best case scenario hopes to restore power to 90% of residents by Christmas.