The local tourism industry got a major shot in the arm this afternoon when two inaugural JetBlue flights out of the United States touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
It was just around 1:50 p.m. today that the inaugural Boston to Barbados flight touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport carrying officials including Director of the US for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Petra Roach; Deputy Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Nicholas Brancker and Barbados’ Consul General to New York, Dr Donna Hunte-Cox.
But it was perhaps the 3:20 p.m. JetBlue Mint Flight out of New York under Barbadian Captain Ophneal Kellman with 141 passengers on board, including his mother Margaret Kellman, which broke new ground in air traffic between John F Kennedy Airport and the Grantley Adams International Airport.
With ‘mint’, JetBlue becomes the only US airline to offer regular service with the ‘lie-flat seating’ to the region.
On board were Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Irene Sandiford-Garner and Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., William Griffith.
On hand to welcome the arrival of the JetBlue Mint flight out of New York were: Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy and Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Everton Walters.
In a brief address Sealy told his audience that arrivals from the US are up 25 percent from last year’s figures.
“The decision to come out of Boston, USA, and I am going to be a little previous speaking about Fort Lauderdale, we will have the daily out of that location. We would like to make the point that we would not only like to get the business out of the north east, but the south east, the south West, the mid west and out of west. We are getting approximately 70 per cent of our business out of the tri-state and JetBlue has heard our plea,” Sealy said.
He stressed that Barbados is not turning its back on the UK market but he pointed out that there was “so much more we can do in the USA market”.
The tourism minister welcomed the partnership between JetBlue and the Barbados government, noting that the decision to launch the international mint service to Barbados is a highly significant one.
“If the members of the media do not record anything else they should record the fact that Barbados is the first international destination that JetBlue, which flies to over 40 different countries all around the western hemisphere, has chosen Barbados as the first one for that mint service. It is a significant decision and a major feather in the cap of all Barbadians,” Sealy noted.