Barbados’ tourism sector is set for a big boost with the return of a daily flight from Heathrow Airport in the UK.
It will be the first time in over 15 years that British Airways will provide a service to Barbados from that London airport.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins and tourism consultant William Billy Griffith have both lauded the development, saying it is much welcomed, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic having brought the island’s tourism sector to a standstill.
In making the announcement in a statement issued today, Cummins revealed that the year-round direct daily service would begin October 17, 2020.
It means Barbados will now have enhanced domestic connectivity from all regions of the U.K., including cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, as well as the key Northwest England gateway of Manchester, and the affluent Chester and Cheadle regions.
The flight’s afternoon departure from the U.K. will also offer seamless connections to British Airways’ extensive European network, tapping into the major cities of Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Madrid, Stockholm and Vienna.
It will also offer Barbados the opportunity to explore new markets such as Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East.
“For more than 15 years, Barbados has been engaging British Airways on the re-establishment of London Heathrow as the gateway to Barbados, following the retirement of its Concorde service. We are thrilled therefore to see this finally come to fruition as it opens the door for us, quite literally, for growth opportunities in cities and continents that were once out of our reach,” Cummins said.
“Post-COVID-19, with British Airways seeing the contraction of various routes, the opportunity presented itself for this service and we were determined to secure it. Understanding the challenges currently faced by our industry, it is critical for us to be both smart and aggressive with our growth strategy, and this represents that.
“The U.K. continues to be our primary source market. In 2019, Barbados reported record arrivals from the U.K. – 234,658 arrivals of the destination’s overall 712,945. We, therefore, expect that this addition will bring us even more favourable results as we look confidently ahead to our future,” Cummins added.
Griffith, who served as chief executive officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) for five years, told Barbados TODAY it was a welcomed development for the island.
He said it was an encouraging sign to see additional routes being added during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Notwithstanding the current crisis brought on with the advent of COVID-19, the news of British Airways’ daily service from Heathrow Airport is a significantly positive one for destination Barbados. This facilitates connectivity for several major cities in Europe that has been missing for a long time with the Gatwick service that required an inconvenient one hour bus or taxi transfer.
“This is extremely encouraging for Barbados’ recovery efforts and the tourism authorities should be congratulated. It’s a challenging road ahead but this will go a long way to success,” Griffith, the managing director of WCG Consulting Limited noted.
Coinciding with the busy half-term period in the fall, the new service will be operated using British Airways’ four-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The year-round daily service will boost the already daily flights from London Gatwick, which run from October 2020 through April 2021.