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Jamaicans bolt to London

(L-R) Friends Debbie Morrell-Parker, Jackie Carter, Jackie Innis, and Annette Griffiths pose for a photograph after arriving in London on Tuesday.

KINGSTON — Flights out of Jamaica to London are fully booked and Jamaican-branded items, especially those bearing the image of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, are flying off the shelves at the island’s international airports as islanders began leaving for the United Kingdom capital Monday for the Olympic Games and Jamaica 50 celebrations.

At least one duty-free shop at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston said it cannot stock these items fast enough to meet the demand, which exceeds what it was this time last year.

Employee at the Casa de Xaymaca store at the NMIA, StacyAnn Manning, told the Jamaica Observer that passengers departing for the United Kingdom (UK) make up the majority of her patrons.

“It has been extremely busy here,” she said. The most sought-after items, she further explained, are the Bolt T-shirts and Jamaica 50 items, which are supplied by Sun Island.

Several passengers travelling on the British Airways flight out of Kingston Monday were visiting London for the sole purpose of attending the Olympic Games, which begin tomorrow and continue through to August 12 .

Meanwhile, British Airways said the more-than-nine-hour flights are very busy in both directions.

“Even though July and August are normally peak travel months, we have seen increased demand this year,” BA said.

The airline has since increased to three, its twice-weekly non-stop flights from Kingston to Gatwick to accommodate the large number of travellers. “This change was based on a number of factors, not just demand as a result of one event,” the airline said.

The airline said it was also seeing some travellers flying to London via Miami, through its partnership with American Airlines. According to BA, there has been a slight trend towards earlier bookings for travel this summer, with many persons securing their seats as soon as the fares became available last year. (Observer)

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