InterCaribbean Assisting Barbados In Becoming A Regional Aviation Hub
Barbados has inched closer to making the Grantley Adams International Airport a regional aviation hub, and helping to make it a reality is interCaribbean Airways, with the introduction of flights from St. Kitts.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, welcomed a fully booked 48-seater interCaribbean Airways inaugural flight out of St. Kitts, on Sunday, March 12.
Minister Gooding-Edghill noted that intraregional travel has been impacted by the reduction of LIAT flights, and prior to interCaribbean entering the market in 2020, persons had to travel to Miami to visit their Caribbean neighbours.
“We are thankful for partners such as interCaribbean, who are working with us not just to return connectivity to the Caribbean, but to position Barbados as a hub for its operations. interCaribbean has been a strong partner for Barbados since its first flight.… This new service builds on our airline partnership with interCaribbean and will open up even more opportunities for travel, trade, and tourism between our two countries,” he stated.
The Tourism Minister disclosed that in analysing last year’s data, Barbados’ tourism industry recorded a 65 per cent recovery in arrivals in 2022 compared to 2018, and the Caribbean made up 12 per cent of those arrivals, with 54,285 visitors coming between January and December 2022.
Minister Gooding-Edghill thanked the Chairman and Founder of interCaribbean Airways, Lyndon Gardiner, for being on the inaugural flight and for continuing to have confidence in Barbados as a key destination for the airline’s business development.
Mr. Gardiner said it was both humbling and exciting for him to celebrate yet another inaugural flight, which seeks to continue and enhance the partnership with the Government and people of Barbados. “We’re no longer filling a temporary void; we are here providing a viable service; we’re here to stay,” he said.
The Chairman and Founder of interCaribbean Airways noted that the airline plans to optimise its services through its office located in Barbados.
“We are also investing in upscaling our customer service management tools to provide faster and more efficient responses to our customers. We are making improvements on all fronts and today’s partnership is a symbol of and a commitment to that endeavour.
“Partnerships like these solidify one region, one community agenda that we have tried for so long to shape and adapt. We are excited for the future because collectively, we know that a more connected region is a safer, more prosperous region for us all,” Mr. Gardiner emphasised.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Ellison Thompson, and the Authority’s Deputy CEO, Melnecia Marshall, were also on board the flight.
They said they are looking forward to working with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), to see how both tourism authorities can maximise the new airlift and build on the existing relationship between the two countries.
The flight, which was captained by Ms. Arian Blanchard, who has been flying for 17 years, and her First Officer Reco Colbourne, was also welcomed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Francine Blackman; BTMI’s CEO, Dr. Jens Thraenhart, and Chairman of the BTMI Board, Shelly Williams.
interCaribbean Airways will be operating the nonstop service between St. Kitts and Barbados three times a week – on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.