Barbados and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed an Air Services Agreement which is expected to strengthen existing air transport links between the two countries.

Barbados??? Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean; and British High Commissioner to Barbados, Victoria Dean, initialled the document recently at the Ministry???s Culloden Road headquarters.

Senator McClean explained that the agreement was able to bring the existing air services agreement into conformity with the rulings of the European Commission, which dictate that all European Union Member States must amend their bilateral air services agreements to permit all European airlines to benefit from the provisions of such agreements.

???Under this agreement, Barbadian-designated carriers can operate to intermediate points and points beyond, and the United Kingdom-designated carriers can operate from points in the United Kingdom to intermediate points beyond???.

???Through this agreement, there will be the opening up of the Barbados/UK route to numerous European and Caribbean carriers that will have the long-term effect of improving service and keeping prices low, while providing increased business opportunities and enhancement of Barbados??? international reputation, especially as a tourism destination,??? she stated.

She added that over 4 million tourists had visited the island over the past 10 years from the UK and other European markets.

High Commissioner Dean noted that the agreement was testament to the close working relationship between the two countries. She added that she hoped it would make a contribution to the number of persons travelling between the two countries and points beyond, and agreed that the new arrangement should help to improve trade.

The diplomat also praised officials in Barbados and the UK for their work in getting the agreement completed.

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