United Airlines has responded to JetBlue Airways’ recent application to launch service between Newark Liberty International Airport and Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic from May 1 by applying to operate the route itself, from this summer.
JetBlue Airways applied on January 27 to the U.S. Department of Transportation for authority to operate the Newark-Santiago de los Caballeros route daily, from May 1.
Santiago de los Caballeros, which has an urban-area population of around 700,000 people, is the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic. It is located on hilly country adjacent to the Rio Yaque del Norte in the Cibao Valley.
This fertile plain runs east-west between the Cordillera Septentrional mountain range (which is near the north coast of the Dominican Republic) to the north and the larger Cordillera Central range to the south of the Cibao Valley.
Any flights between Newark Liberty International Airport (IATA code EWR) and Santiago de los Caballeros’ Cibao International Airport (STI) are subject to approval by the governments of the United States and the Dominican Republic.
As of August 13, 2019, the most recent date on which the U.S. Department of Transportation published its list of countries with which the United States has ‘Open Skies’ bilateral air service agreements, the U.S. did not have an ‘Open Skies’ agreement with the Dominican Republic.
On that date the U.S. had ‘Open Skies’ agreements with 111 countries.
If United Airlines wins the rights to operate the Newark-Santiago de los Caballeros service, it would operate the route daily with Boeing 737-900 single-aisle jets.
United’s daily flight would leave EWR at 9:00 a.m. and arrive at STI at 12:55 p.m. The return flight would depart STI at 1:50 p.m. and land at EWR at 5:55 p.m.
The new service would open for bookings once regulatory approval was granted and would be timed to provide round-trip connections to and from Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
United’s existing services to the Dominican Republic include year-round flights from Newark to Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.
On a seasonal basis, United Airlines also serves Punta Cana from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.