A story from JetBlue Airways this morning announced the “renewed commitment to Barbados”, stating that the airline now had “plans to serve New York/JFK to Bridgetown, Barbados, with daily Airbus A321 service, adding up to 580 seats per week each way, starting December 19, 2013”.
“Additionally, JetBlue has filed to offer more capacity to Barbados during peak holiday times, including President’s Day and Easter, subject to receipt of Government approval,” the airline stated.
The airline also quoted Barbados Tourism Authority Adrian Elcock chairman as stating: “JetBlue has been a trusted partner to Barbados since 2009, moving large numbers of visitors and members of the diaspora to our beautiful island! We are extremely excited to have reached an agreement with JetBlue to significantly increase their capacity to Barbados and we will continue to work aggressively with the expansive JetBlue network as part of our greater strategy of securing more arrivals from the United States.”
And later this afternoon, executive vice-president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Sue Springer, added her hopes that these flights were indeed a reality.
Noting to Barbados TODAY that she had not previously seen the story, she reiterated that at the recent BHTA annual general meeting she had mentioned that the airline was in negotiations for additional flights, since AA was no longer flying.
“I don’t know if it will account for two flights or three, I haven’t seen the article and I don’t have that information, but I did say that JetBlue was looking to give us two additional flights.
“If we are losing seven flights a week from American Airlines and JetBlue services us with five, and if they are giving us two –– and I am not saying it is two because I haven’t seen the article and I don’t know if the two represents the number of seats you are talking about, I will have to find out what airlift they are giving us –– but if it is additional airlift it will help. It is not going to completely eradicate the loss of seats, that’s for sure,” she stated.
“Obviously having lost the American Airlines flight, the daily American Airlines flight from JFK, we are very happy to hear that JetBlue will be assisting to reintroduce some of the seat capacity we would have lost. The New York/JFK gateway is very important to our product,” she stated.
Additionally, Springer said hoteliers were likely to welcome the news since some had already reported some cancellations due to the lack of seats from that airport.
Asked about bookings for late December into next year, the period when JetBlue should have assumed those flights, Springer said: “It’s reasonably okay, about on par with last year, but what is happening now is that the pace of bookings have slowed because of lack of airlift in some cases, and we’ve already had some people gaining cancellations for groups and so on coming out of JFK further down –– not for Christmas, but further down in the year because they can no longer get here.”
She said she knew of two groups who had cancelled because they could no longer get out as a group from JFK. (LB)