Within a span of 24 hours, Barbados welcomed two inaugural interCaribbean Airways flights, on Friday, December 17 from Guyana, and on Saturday, December 18, from Antigua and Barbuda.
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s (BTMI), Director for the Caribbean and Latin America, Corey Garrett explained that Barbados had been forging relationships to increase inter-regional travel and make Barbados a Southern aviation hub, which is a goal of the Barbados Government.
“In meeting the mandate or the fulfilment of creating Barbados as a Southern aviation hub, BTMI, over the years, has been creating the necessary airline relationships, maintaining those relationships, and then maintaining the accessibility or the insight to accessibility for customers on pricing and packaging, etcetera, fuelling the entire business,” Mr. Garrett stated.
He added that with BTMI’s Isle Away promotion launched last year, the organisation was “focusing in” on Caribbean travellers in an effort to increase inter-regional travel. Efforts include reaching out to islanders through various fora including social and digital media and “hard press”.
He noted that the BTMI had done research in order to understand their needs; wants; purchase behaviours, and buying patterns; and it was hoped that with the increase airlift from interCaribbean, there will be an upward trajectory in regional travellers to Barbados.
interCaribbean Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Trevor Sadler explained that the realisation of interCaribbean offering inter-regional travel had been a nine-year journey in the making.
“We’re moving along on a nine-year journey of connecting the Caribbean. This is the next step in that journey of now connecting Guyana into the Caribbean, … and the beauty of this particular flight in two steps is, you will be able to get on this aeroplane and go to Antigua; [and] from there you will be able to go to Providenciales and Havana,” Mr. Sadler explained.
The CEO added that the airline provided easy connections on to other destinations: “When we make a stop it’s not a prolonged process, so you’re in this continuous journey to get to your destination. That Provo flight will then connect you with Nassau [Bahamas] if that’s your wish, or with Kingston [Jamaica] as well. So, by virtue of adding this new flight we also add new connective points for Barbados, too.
“We programme 12 flights a week to connect Barbados and Georgetown. Those flights are perfectly timed to connect with the British Airways and Virgin [Atlantic] flights respectively, to go on to London. And, so it is that we are about bringing people to Barbados, but at the same time connecting via Barbados where we are intent on building a world class connective hub.”
interCaribbean Airways will be operating two weekly flights between Antigua and Barbados.
Also present to welcome passengers and crew was Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong; BTMI’s CEO, Jens Thraenhart and other BTMI officials, as well as CEO of GAIA Inc., Hadley Bourne.