Two American Airlines pilots who were born in Jamaica were responsible for steering the first flight of 126 passengers to the island on Monday as the island reopened its tourism sector, since the reopening of the border.
The pilots, Captain Shaun Nelson of Montego Bay, and First Officer Bethoya Powell, from Tower Isle, safely landed a Boeing 737 aircraft on the tarmac of the Sangster International Airport with the aim of helping to restart the Jamaican economy.
Nelson told the media, “An economy that needs tourism for its survival. This is really a special occasion for us.”
The aircraft, which left Miami, Florida, at 11:30 a.m., arrived in the tourism capital city of Montego Bay at 12:40 p.m.
The new protocols associated with COVID-19 prevention prevented him and his crew from leaving the boarding gate or shop duty-free.
Powell, Nelson said, was responsible for the roster that brought them together on the same flight – in her role as pilot manager in Dallas, Texas.
“This is home for us. It is near and dear to us,” the 20-year veteran stated, adding how proud and excited she was to be part of the flight.
Powell said that American Airlines has sought to maintain COVID-19 social-distancing protocols by keeping the middle seats empty.
“The aircraft is fogged and sanitized. All the passengers must wear face masks, as we do everything to make the travel industry as safe as possible,” she said.