Seaborne Airlines reached agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to relocate corporate headquarters from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
According to the firm, under the agreement, Puerto Rico will take an equity position in the airline and have two seats on the Board of Directors of the parent company of Seaborne, Coastal International Airways. Seaborne Airlines has committed to the creation of 400 jobs in Puerto Rico. 150 of the 400 positions will be added in Puerto Rico in the first quarter of 2014. This will bring total Seaborne employment in Puerto Rico to 250 people. The move is contemplated to be complete by March, 2014.
Seaborne will also add a number of routes important to Puerto Rico's tourism and export growth. On December 12, the carrier started service from San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. On January 15, the carrier will add service from San Juan to St. Kitts and Nevis. On February 14, Seaborne plans to begin service from San Juan to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. On March 1, new service from San Juan to St. Maarten, Seaborne's 16th airport will launch. These San Juan routes are being serviced by four additional Saab 340B, 34-seat aircraft. Seaborne anticipates having a fleet of 16 Saabs based in Puerto Rico.
No change to existing routes, or Seaplane operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is planned as a result of this agreement. The agreement also calls for rebranding of Seaborne's San Juan-based operations. Seaborne operates as an American codeshare partner in select markets at San Juan and has interline connecting agreements with JetBlue Airways and coming soon with Delta Air Lines.
"There is little that is more important to economic development than global air access" said Gary Foss, president and chief executive officer of Seaborne Airlines. "This agreement will strengthen Puerto Rico's ties with the rest of the Caribbean and position Seaborne as being Puerto Rico's favorite airline, for connecting customers from our partner carriers, or for customers traveling to or from Puerto Rico to neighboring islands. Seaborne's thanks go out to the leaders of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico who have made this day a reality.”
"We happily welcome Seaborne Airlines relocation to Puerto Rico, with their new hub of operations in San Juan, and our new partnership with Coastal International Airways. This partnership is important for reconnecting Puerto Rico to the Caribbean islands and also is an investment in jobs, commerce, new business opportunities and economic development. We have, in a year, recuperated routes that were discontinued during recent years in the Caribbean and now we are strengthening our position as the main hub in the region and connection to the United States", said Governor Alejandro Garcia-Padilla.