In less than a week, Barbados welcomed the second European airline to its shores. Aer Lingus Flight E1 31, from Manchester, England, landed at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Wednesday.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, a delegation from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), and Deputy High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Craig Fulton, were on hand to welcome flight crew and passengers, including Barbados’ High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Milton Inniss.
Barbados became the first Caribbean destination for the Irish carrier from an English airport.
Minister Cummins, speaking on the occasion, stated:
So, this is special for us, not just because obviously this is the first time that we have had this level of airlift coming in from an Irish airline, … in this instance they have just opened a brand new hub in Manchester, and this was the very first flight out of Manchester under the new Aer Lingus hub and it was here to Barbados.
“And so, we’re really excited. This is the second new airline that we have welcomed to Barbados in just a few days, and we’re looking forward to being able to have a strong winter season going forward with our existing partners and definitely with our new partners including the new Aer Lingus flight that arrived today, with just around 187 passengers on board.”
She also shared that Government recently signed a new air services agreement with Kenya, and in a few weeks another air services agreement would be signed.
Senator Cummins added that the “commitment in the Ministry and … all the agencies under the Ministry, BTMI, Grantley Adams International Airport [and] Air Transport Licensing Authorities … is diversifying where we are bringing visitors from and expanding our reach. So, you will see a lot more of that coming from us in the next couple of months and certainly into next year”.
Also sharing his view on the occasion was Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Fulton. He said: “We’re very pleased to see the arrival of this new Aer Lingus flight; this new route to Barbados from the United Kingdom. It’s as we’ve seen over the past few months, there’s been a gradual increase in the flights and routes and carriers from the United Kingdom, and so, this is another part of that increased return, and increased tourism coming from the UK….”
Minister Cummins presented Aer Lingus pilot, Captain Joe O’Connor with a special commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
He, along with 13 other crew members and passengers received a warm welcome that included a water salute, music played by the Barbados Defence Force Zouave Band, stilt walkers and a steel pan performance by the band, Band One.
An Airbus 330-300 series will operate twice weekly on the new direct route from Manchester until the beginning of November, and will then increase to three times per week with a carrying capacity of 287 economy seats and 30 business class seats.