jetBlue Airway’s all-Barbadian cabin crew poses with pilot Captain Carter.????

The inaugural flight of jetBlue Airways touched down today at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) with an all-Barbadian crew.

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, in welcoming the American carrier, said it was a "very gratifying feeling" to have jetBlue, a company with a difference as a partner, as the island sought "to expand opportunities for developing greater levels of arrivals from the US…."

He added: "We know that the US market has been a little sluggish for us even in the best of times and therefore the insertion of another major player and a very progressive player can only help us."

Acknowledging that Government was keen to work with jetBlue, he opined: "I think it can work wonders in terms of what the US market has to offer… We will do what is necessary to make sure the plane stays in the air."

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), David Rice, also echoed satisfaction and noted that the BTA was very excited about the opportunity to work with the airline.

He stressed that what the BTA had seen in the short term with jetBlue showed it was very important and critical for his organisation "to get a feel and vibes for how things would go. The vibe that we have been getting from our working relationship with jetBlue is a tremendous vibe of cooperation, mutual respect and support," he stressed, adding that the BTA was keen "to make sure that this is a long term venture and that it continues to work and [that] it flourishes."

While giving the assurance that his organisation would try to make the service rewarding, he told the media "We are encouraged and very pleased… we are confident that it will be a very successful venture."

Meanwhile, Chief Communications Officer with jetBlue, Robin Hayes, revealed that Barbados was the 58th jetBlue City on the network and the 10th destination from New York and was "heralded as one of the most friendly destinations."

Mr. Hayes pointed out that the inaugural flight was completely sold out, with the airline affording passengers at least one bag free of charge. He further stated that future bookings were looking incredibly strong.

In introducing the all-Barbadian crew, he commended the carrier’s over 12,000 staff and declared: "At jetBlue our people are our greatest asset. It is no secret that Barbadians are going to feel very at home on jetBlue services, as our award-winning crew members deliver a wonderful product. From the time you make your reservation, to the time we deliver your bag at the other end, we will take great care of you."

The achievements of the airline were also highlighted, with Mr. Hayes acknowledging, among others, that jetBlue had been voted "Best Low Cost Carrier" for five years, and that Travel and Leisure had named it "Best Domestic Airline".

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