Frontier Airlines will put an image of a red-billed streamer-tailed hummingbird — Jamaica’s National Bird, on the tailfin of a 240-passenger aircraft that will be added to its fleet the next year.
The Airbus A321 Neo, which is now under construction, will be named “Stewart the Red-Billed Streamer Tail” in honour of the late hotelier and businessman Gordon Butch Stewart for his substantial contribution to the growth of Jamaica’s tourism industry.
Frontier Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Barry Biffle, announced at a ceremony held at Sandals Montego Bay in St. James on Thursday (November 10) that the gesture is part of the company’s ambition to become Jamaica’s “hometown” airline.
“I can’t think of any better way to honour our partnership with Jamaica than to have the national bird of Jamaica on the tail of our aircraft and in honour of Butch Stewart, as well as the Stewart family… the name of this aircraft will be ‘Stewart the Red-Billed Streamer tail’,” Biffle added.
He said that the concept was proposed by Kadesha Smith, a Jamaican flight attendant for the airline.
Frontier has a habit of affixing images of mostly endangered animals to the tails of their aircraft.
Biffle stated that Frontier, a low-cost airline, continues to make it easier for tourists to come to Jamaica by making it more accessible and affordable to get to the United States.
Frontier now offers service to Jamaica from nine US gateways. There are plans to add two additional flights next year, with nonstop service to Denver, Colorado, beginning in February and Dallas, Texas, in the spring.
Donnie Dawson, Deputy Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board in the Americas, congratulated Frontier Airlines for its continuous engagement with Jamaica and praised the gesture.
“We are thrilled that Frontier is putting our hummingbird on your tail; it’s an honour. Frontier Airlines, with nine gateways into Jamaica, is phenomenal. Our recovery, post-COVID, is going very well, and Frontier Airlines is a huge part of that because, without airlift, we’re nothing,” he said.
The Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Richard Vernon, stated that the gesture and Frontier’s push to boost flights to the island demonstrate the airline’s trust in Jamaica as a destination.
“It is indeed profound to have the Doctor Bird on the tail of the Frontier Airbus. We’re looking to ramp up the number of tourists coming to Jamaica…, and I believe that it couldn’t be at a better time. It means that our local economy will get some boost. Our Jamaicans in Montego Bay will get more work, and they can safeguard against the rising prices,” said Vernon.
The red-billed streamertail is a species of hummingbird. It features stunning, iridescent colours and is treasured by Jamaicans. It is often immortalized in Jamaican folklore and song.
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