Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, has praised the long-standing relationship between Barbados and British Airways (BA), as well as the airline???s role in developing the island???s civil aviation industry.

He commended the positive partnership with the British carrier during its 60th Anniversary cocktail reception at the Barbados Concorde Experience, Seawell, Christ Church, recently.

Mr. Sealy said British Airways was a strong brand that was recognised globally, and was the oldest provider of civil aviation services in the world.

???For most of those years, you have had a relationship with Barbados and it has had several high points. We all know the 747 jumbo jet when it first came to Barbados???.The aircraft I am standing under???the Concorde???the first time it came here was to pick up Her Majesty, and she recently celebrated Diamond Jubilee on the throne. Subsequent to that, there was the???scheduled flight which we enjoyed with Concorde. So, the relationship has been very meaningful,??? he told the specially invited guests.

Mr. Sealy said many careers had been developed at British Airways and the association had ???imbedded itself in some very significant ways in the community???. He also disclosed that at present, there were 10 BA flights per week and for the upcoming winter season, there would be 12 flights.

The Tourism Minister added: ???This says a lot about the relationship between British Airways and Barbados. In fact, we think of Gatwick and all the international flights that British Airways have, [and] after New York, the next place where they have the most flights flying into, is actually Barbados, and that says a lot about the relationship. We are an important destination for them and they are a very important partner for us, and we really want this partnership to continue.???

Meanwhile, BA???s Executive Vice President of the Americas, Sean Doyle, said the airline was happy with the carrier???s relationship in the region and its performance, despite the ongoing economic recession.

???Even though economic times have been very tough, we have been happy with the performance of our business to the Caribbean and Barbados. For our local team, it has been a period of stability. In terms of our commitment to flying passengers to the market, we have been growing again this winter,??? he emphasised.

During the event, employee Wayde Bohne was recognised for 44 years of service to BA, while Minister Sealy and other tourism officials presented Mr. Doyle and other BA officials with a memento.

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