Passengers travelling between Miami and Barbados on American Airlines will now do so in a more modern aircraft.
On Friday the company announced the introduction of its new state-of-the-art A321S aircraft, which will replace the 757 aircraft. American Airlines currently has two daily flights to Barbados from Miami.
The carrier, which will be celebrating 42 years of service to Barbados in September, is in the process of a historic fleet renewal programme that includes spending of $4.1 billion on new aircraft this year alone.
The new airplane, with 16 seats in first-class and 165 seats in the main cabin, was scheduled to arrive in Barbados Friday afternoon flown by Barbadian Captain Basil Lowe, but was delayed due to bad weather.
However, during a short ceremony at the Grantley Adams International Airport to mark the occasion, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) Alvin Jemmott welcomed the change in aircraft, as he recalled the increase in American Airlines flights to the island over the years.
Stating that the partnership between the country and American Airlines was an important one, Jemmott said the airline provided in excess of 100,000 passengers to the island annually, which was about 50 per cent of the passengers out of the U.S. market.
“In order for us to continue to grow our performance here in Barbados we are absolutely dependent on these partnerships,” said Jemmott.
“We certainly want to congratulate American airlines on this milestone and thank them for the collaboration we’ve had over this period of time. When you started service in 1975 that first service to Barbados flew out of New York. In 1997 we started the service out of Miami, now we have two flights a day out of Miami and this certainly helped us in our journey and our path to growth here in Barbados,” he said.
“I recalled well that in 2014 we did about 118,000 passengers to Barbados and that grew to 148,000 by 2015, and by 2016 we have gone to 168,000 passengers and that is no small feat. So we say thank you,” added Jemmott.
Promising a more modern travel experience on the new aircraft, General Manager of American Airlines for Barbados Jennifer Carter said the upgrade consisted of AC/USB power ports in every seat and “a more refined business class experience”, as well as in-flight entertainment.
Pointing out that Barbados had lovely weather and people, Carter said it was no surprise that it remained a preferred destination for Americans, adding that she was looking forward to further growth “and many milestones together”.