Government is putting steps in place to ensure this island has access to the international community, especially with the termination of commercial flights to, and from Barbados.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, made this announcement during a press conference today at Ilaro Court.
He said it was important that the country maintain air connectivity, so it could continue to import commodities, such as food, medical supplies and equipment.
Mr. Symmonds stressed that Barbados does not own an airline and rather than join the queue of countries requesting chartered flights, he said Government was negotiating with airlines to provide at least a once-a-week service from major gateways to the island.
Following is a market-by-market basis of the termination of commercial flights to and from Barbados, as well as plans to maintain international access:
- West Jet ceased its worldwide operations on Saturday, March 21; when and if they recommence is a wait and see matter.
- Air Canada will halt global operations by Tuesday, March 31, until then Barbados will continue to benefit from its Toronto flight.
- The Montreal to Barbados flight was suspended on Saturday, March 21.
- Government will engage in discussions with Air Canada to provide a weekly flight from Toronto to Barbados to maintain connectivity and import supplies.
CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA
- Air Antilles will suspend service from Monday, March 23, indefinitely until circumstances improve.
- The situation with LIAT is fluid as CARICOM states continue to make decisions regarding border closures.
- LIAT’s board indicated that reduced and revised schedules should be maintained where possible. One of the reasons for this was to facilitate various forms of assistance from Barbados to CARICOM member states.
- Since Trinidad and Tobago has implemented adjustments to its borders, discussions will need to take place with Caribbean Airlines.
- COPA Airlines suspended flights on Friday, March 20. It is anticipated that service will resume when circumstances in Panama and Barbados have been abated.
- Lufthansa’s Eurowings will suspend operations on Monday, March 23. It was originally scheduled to end its winter contract in mid-April.
- Condor has suspended operations indefinitely. Discussions to recommence service will take place when conditions are favourable in Europe and Barbados.
- Both airlines will focus on repatriation of passengers and citizens, who are mainly from Germany and other European countries.
- Virgin Atlantic will suspend service to Barbados on Monday, March 23.
- Repatriation flights began on Saturday, March 21.
- British Airways (BA) has a cooperative arrangement with Barbados and Virgin Atlantic to repatriate persons who were unable to get a Virgin Atlantic flight.
- BA will continue to fly to Barbados until Thursday, March 26, however the airline has plans to implement a global cessation.
- Government will meet with BA officials on Monday, March 23, to discuss the possibility of maintaining a once weekly flight between the UK and Barbados to freight medical supplies, food and other items into the island.
- Minister Symmonds said British Airways indicated it would recommence service to Barbados on Thursday, April 16.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- American Airlines (AA) has suspended operations for three days, beginning Sunday, March 23.
- AA flights will resume on Thursday, March 26, with two weekly flights from Miami to Barbados and one weekly flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Barbados, until Wednesday, April 1.
- JetBlue suspended operations into Barbados on Saturday, March 21, but will provide a direct flight on Saturdays from New York for an indefinite period of time. This could increase to twice weekly based on demand.
- These measures ensure Barbados is not “cut off from access” to the US market.
- They also facilitate the repatriation of passengers; the return of Barbadians to the island and will allow the country to benefit from access to vital supplies, such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
The Tourism Minister expressed gratitude to the airlines. “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the travel trade partners for their cooperation, especially those legacy carriers, which have gone above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to meet us halfway in order to ensure that the island itself is not cut off from the international community because as you know, there is really no way of Barbados provisioning itself.”