The inaugural JetBlue flight 385 out of Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale is testament to the commitment of that airline to Barbados.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, made this declaration minutes after the flight landed at the Grantley Adams International Airport, bringing visitors as well as a large delegation of Barbadians from South Florida.
In thanking Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JetBlue, Robin Hayes, for being a staunch advocate for Barbados and a driving force in the development of the relationship between this country and the airline, Mr. Sealy said that he had seen phenomenal growth in the tourist sector since the introduction of the airline in 2009.
???From that Kennedy flight ??? one flight a day, we have now moved to the point where we have as many as 25 JetBlue flights a week from now three gateways,??? he stated.
The Minister also credited the airline with contributing to the large increase in visitor arrivals from the United States.?????In 2015, we saw some incredible increases over 2014, I think it was almost 25 percent, and it???s clear based on how the year has started, and now with the additional 1,000 seats a week we are getting out of Fort Lauderdale, 2016 will increase on 2015. So, we are finally starting to realise a lot of the potential we always knew we had in that market,??? Mr. Sealy said.
He also praised Barbadians in the diaspora for the work they did in lobbying for a JetBlue service out of New York, Boston and Fort Lauderdale over the years.
CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes, who flew in on the inaugural flight, agreed with Mr. Sealy that his organisation had an excellent long-standing relationship with Barbados. He added that JetBlue intended to come to the assistance of Barbadians and residents in Florida who had suffered from very high fares in the past.
The CEO also suggested that this market could possibly satisfy more than one flight a day from Fort Lauderdale, and indicated that this was an area to be explored in the future.