Next Stop: Dallas

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Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, makes remarks at the reception for the inaugural flight of American Airlines from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas??to Barbados.

Last night Barbados welcomed the inaugural American Airlines (AA) non-stop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth Texas, at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

Arriving passengers, on the historic flight, including Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, were met with great fanfare signaling the end of negotiations to increase airlift from the largest American Airlines hub in the United States of America.

At a reception to welcome the carrier, Minister Sealy told the various representatives from the Barbados Tourism Authority, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association and American Airlines, including the flight crew, that the new route showed great promise and potential.

"Right now less than 10 per cent of our business comes from that part of the world, the west coast.?? Most of our business comes from the north east, and so, by having this flight, we now have the potential to get much more of that business, not only from Texas, which is the third largest state in the U.S., in terms of population, but also California, which is the most populace state, and all of those areas where we traditionally have not had a lot of business – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma…," he said.

The tourism Minister pointed out that this move to explore new hubs was in keeping with government’s policy of increasing airlift and efforts were ongoing to increase Barbados’ reach in American and European markets.

"We feel that we need to look at our existing markets and look at new gateways within them, hence, our interest in Western Canada.?? He further noted that within the UK they were now looking at Manchester, North England, and Ireland while in the US, in addition to Dallas, other cities outside of New York and Miami were being considered.

This new route is also relevant for the Barbadian diaspora who reside in the western states of the U.S., a factor which Mr. Sealy indicated further adds to the importance and potential of the flight.

"There are a number of Barbadians who live in Texas and on the west coast of the United States, California especially. We have been pushing the whole concept of diaspora tourism…since this constitute a legitimate market for Barbados’ tourism, and this flight makes it easier for many of these folks to get home.?? I’m sure there are many people in that part of the U.S.A that who quite happy there is an alternative to going through Miami," Mr. Sealy stated.

The Minister’s confidence in the route is bolstered by the marketing partnership with American Airlines as well as the apparent strength of the Barbados-Dallas/Fort Worth flight, which already boasts stronger passenger loads than some Miami and New York flights for this winter season.??

"Looking at the loads and considering the 35-year relationship we have with American Airlines, we are confident that even though we’ve had to sign a letter of credit for US$1.5 million, that we will not have to subsidise this flight and that is a deliberate decision that we take to invest in airlift…", Mr. Sealy maintained.

Passengers travelling aboard the Barbados-Dallas/Fort Worth flight will do so on Boeing 757s with seating capacity for 188 persons. It arrives in Barbados on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9:00 p.m. and returns to Texas on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m.????nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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