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File image of the first United Airlines flight between Malaga and New York arriving on the Costa del Sol this summer. Salvador Salas
Tourism sector applauds reintroduction of direct flights between Malaga Airport and New York next summer
Tourism

Tourism sector applauds reintroduction of direct flights between Malaga Airport and New York next summer

Local and regional government representatives, hotel employers on the Costa del Sol and travel agencies have all welcomed the “great news”

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Thursday, 19 October 2023, 08:13

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United Airlines' decision to maintain the flight direct between Malaga and New York next summer has been welcomed by representatives of the tourism sector in the province. Local and regional authorities, hotel employers and travel agencies have all agreed this is “great news” for the Costa del Sol.

The Junta de Andalucía's regional tourism minister, Arturo Bernal, expressed his satisfaction with the decision of the airline company, though he stressed that he awaits the official statement from United Airlines. However, given that sales operations are already under way, Bernal said that he is confident that “after another good summer, the airline has decided to maintain this flight next year”. He has stated that flight consolidation is “doubly important considering the high competitiveness of airlines due to the shortage of aircraft. Therefore, it is doubly key that Malaga is bet on for the second year”.

Bernal highlighted the potential of Andalucía in this market and pointed out that the number of North Americans staying in hotels in the region, with an average stay of five days, was 371,000 in the first six months, when last year there were 450,000, which equates to an increase of 33%.

The regional tourism minister also stressed the growth margin that airlines have in this market. “United Airlines has moved 17,000 passengers in this first season, which means that the room for improvement is very great. This is the main argument and we value it in terms of opportunity to expand the business”.

Connections to other US airports such as Miami or Atlanta called for

Likewise, the president of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, has indicated that “is great news at a time of uncertainties such as the two wars or the rise in prices” He said that “the consolidation of this flight will also have a important effect in the work we are doing to expand direct connections from Malaga to other US airports such as Miami or Atlanta”.

The tourism councillor at Malaga city hall, Jacobo Florido, said that “we are delighted with the consolidation of the flight”. He added that “we hope that in future years the period of this route can be extended”.

Hoteliers and travel agencies delighted

On the part of businesses, both hoteliers and travel agencies have agreed on the importance of this direct connection with New York and on the impact that the arrival of tourists has on the Costa del Sol who, in addition to staying for longer than the average duration, also spend more than the average. The Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) said: “We are delighted with this announcement.” The association expressed their desire that the route be expanded to include a flight with Miami. “The consolidation of United Airlines in Malaga repeating this summer's schedule is very good because it reinforces the destiny and the possibility that other US companies consider this type of operation,” Aehcos said.

The president of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Costa del Sol, Sergio García, said that the news “was something we expected thanks to the good level of occupation they have had this year”. He added: “Obviously we celebrate the decision to keep the flight and we want them to expand to other US cities like Miami or Chicago.”

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