by Emmanuel Joseph
Barbados has escaped flight cancellations due to snow storms in North America.
President of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Urban Cumberbatch told Barbados TODAY, this afternoon, that the severe cold weather had not adversely affected any of this island’s airline scheduling out of New York.
“When I last checked, it has not had any impact. Most of the bad storm has passed,” Cumberbatch pointed out.
However, the BTA boss explained that the cold conditions would most likely have a positive impact on Barbados, “because this (snow storms) would compound the situation where Americans were already suffering from Hurricane Sandy”.
“And during winter, Americans tend to have a different mind set and tend to travel to the warmer Caribbean,” he added.
Cumberbatch said the only thing that would hinder Barbados from taking advantage of any increase in visitors due to the cold weather at this time, was the availability of airline seats.
“Most flights coming out of North America into Barbados at this time are oversubscribed,” noted the BTA head.
Looking forward, though, he disclosed that negotiations were expected to resume next month with American Airlines with a view to restoring its scheduled service out of Dallas, which had been cut due to AA’s restructuring.
“AA should be in a better position in January when more meetings will be held after the Christmas holidays. We would be able to get a better idea what is happening with their restructuring,” informed Cumberbatch.
He said Barbados also had other options out of the US. The tourism leader told this newspaper, that JetBlue had a flight which came out of Charlotte once per week and this was another area being explored by the BTA.
He noted that this country’s tourism sector was projected to end the year “flat” mainly as a result of losing the Dallas service.
“The year will not be as good as last year. We don’t expect any positive growth. Last year there was positive growth. By year end, we should be about one per cent to two per cent down,” the tourism authority president explained.
Airport authorities meanwhile, this afternoon confirmed to this newspaper, that there were no flight cancellations into Barbados out of the US. Winter weather complicated travel for many Americans on Wednesday — and left six dead in weather-related accidents, and even forced one NBA team to take the rare step of postponing a game due to the conditions.
Six people, including two young children, have died in weather-related incidents since Tuesday. A one-year-old and two-year-old child were killed in a car accident in Arkansas, an official with the state’s department of emergency management said.
Tommy Jackson also said a man was killed in his home in Saline County by a falling tree. A 53-year-old man in Rayville, Louisiana, was killed when a tree fell on his house, Richland Parish Sheriff Lee Harrell said.
Snow totals in parts of Indiana ranged from six to 12 inches. About 350 snowplows were clearing roads throughout the city. [email protected]†