British Airways has announced an increase in flights to Antigua & Barbuda, at a time when the airline has been cutting back in the Caribbean. Antigua & Barbuda is the only Caribbean destination to gain flights.
BA released its 2012 long haul operation summer schedule on Friday. The airline, which usually operates six flights weekly from London to Antigua, will now increase to this number to seven flights per week starting on March 25. The additional flight will depart on Tuesdays.
The announcement followed extensive discussions between British Airways (BA), the Ministry of Tourism, and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
“For the first time ever, we will have daily service all year round,” said Minister of Tourism John Maginley. “This is a significant achievement and demonstrates the confidence that British Airways has in the destination. They recognize that Antigua & Barbuda is an excellent product with huge potential out of the UK & Europe.”
He added, “We welcome the move and have pledged our support to ensure the success of the 2012 summer season. We anticipate that the additional BA flight will come as good news to our hotel partners, who will be interested in filling as many rooms as possible year round.”
CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C James described the move by British Airways as “an affirmation of their confidence in the continued growth of the tourism product in Antigua & Barbuda. The additional flight will not only generate more visitors from the UK, but will allow for greater access from Europe. The newly established code-sharing arrangement between British Airways and Air Berlin means better connectivity for German visitors who will now have daily same day service.”
UK Director of Tourism Hilary Modeste said he was confident that the additional airlift would contribute to improved visitor arrivals in 2012. Reports by UK tour operators have indicated that arrivals to Antigua are showing great growth, year-on-year. “Our arrivals are on the rise and the destination continues to buck the trend,” said Modeste.
UK marketing activities became more efficient in 2011, with the UK team focusing on niche markets, with emphasis on sailing, cricket, and the affordable and luxury hotel product.
The UK director acknowledged the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association (AHTA) and hotel partners for the support given to the office with marketing activities and the hosting of familiarization trips for the trade and press. He said the office will continue to work alongside its partners to devise new strategies to attract more visitors to the destination in 2012.