A prominent tourism industry figure is urging colleagues not to despair over the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets, potentially hampering tourist arrivals.
Instead, former chairman of the Barbados Hotel and
Tourism Association, Roseanne Myers wants the precautionary measure to be seen as protection from irreparable long-term damage to the industry rather than as likely losses for the winter season.
Citing “new information”, US aviation regulators late yesterday joined Canada, the European Union, Indonesia, Ethiopian and other countries around the world in banning flights of the controversial fourth generation of the 737 jet following two fatal crashes in two months.
Dozens of American Airlines passengers were left stranded at the Grantley Adams International Airport when Flight 1089 – a Max 8 aircraft set to leave for Miami at 3.35 p.m. – was grounded indefinitely.
Myers told Barbados TODAY: “The grounding of the American Airlines flights and all of the other planes in that Boeing class is the wisest decision to protect the tourism sector because it possibly could save lives. I believe that any temporary disruptions can be dealt with in a manner that is easier than further loss of life.”
Barbados TODAY understands the aeroplane, which carries 210 passengers was booked at near maximum capacity. Return leg flights from Miami were also cancelled.
On its website, AA called attention to the interruption of its services in compliance with a directive from the Federal Aviation Administration. The airline noted that it operates 85 flights a day using the Max 8.
“Our operations centre is working to re-route aircraft throughout the systems to cover as much of our schedule as we can,” AA said.
This morning, a check on the AA website showed all flights from Miami to Barbados were en route.
Myers contends that Barbadian hospitality needed to be on full display, ensuring that brand Barbados counteracts any negativity coming from unforeseen travel frustrations.
She said: “I think we have to pull out all of our customer service skills to deal with persons who have been dislocated and whose holiday time has been extended in Barbados. We need to show them the best customer service we can by giving them information and deal with their concerns on the ground in the calmest possible way.
“The overarching point, in simple language, is that it is better to be safe than sorry. It will disrupt temporarily but I certainly would not have all of the information with respect to how American Airlines and the other airlines will deal with it.”