Barbados now has more access to the European tourist market with the advent of the new Lufthansa non-stop flight from Germany to Barbados.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, made this announcement after he arrived on the first Lufthansa Airlines flight from Frankfurt to Bridgetown at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Monday, October 28.
Approximately 300 passengers, wearing Barbados branded hats, were welcomed with sounds of sweet soca music and much fanfare.
Heralded as “a significant day” for the island, the new airline will fly under the Eurowings brand thrice weekly during the winter season until Easter 2020, bringing a 75 per cent increase in air seats, coming out of Germany.
The Tourism Minister described the partnership with Europe’s biggest airline as one that made “perfect sense”, since “the European market via Lufthansa has now become more accessible” for the island.
He explained: “In the absence of having a non-stop direct service in the past, we have been hamstrung from getting more deeply in the European market…. We have been studying the figures, Germany alone accounts for US$80 billion being contributed to international travel every year. France contributes US$40 billion every year, which is US$120 billion…
“If Barbados was to get but one per cent of that traffic, we would be getting the sum total of all that we would be getting every year. It seems to make perfect sense that we build partnerships to help us deepen the economic arrangements that this country has, and to advance the standard of living and the wellbeing of all of our people.”
Minister Symmonds insisted that the Lufthansa Group demonstrated “tremendous confidence” in this island, as Barbados is one of the three destinations that will be serviced by the retrofitted and refreshed Eurowings leisure travel platform. The other two “estimable” locations are Windhook in Namibia, and Mauritius.
He said Barbados was the envy of the Eastern Caribbean as the island was privileged to have the first scheduled, non-stop direct flight out of any destination in continental Europe. The airline currently services the Dominican Republic and Cuba in the Northern Caribbean.
Also speaking at the event was Senior Director Mexico, Central America & Caribbean of the Lufthansa Group, Felipe Bonifatti. He said the almost 300 passengers on the inaugural flight was confirmation that the decision to fly to Barbados was the right one.
He added: “These are exciting times for the Lufthansa Group, its expansion, growth and increased capacity in the Caribbean.” He said that with the new service to Barbados, the airline now flies to 319 destinations in 103 countries across five continents.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., William ‘Billy’ Griffith, added that the direct flight from Germany would assist in Barbados’ goals to diversify and expand its source markets.