Come in

Minister Sealy says he’s keen to have open skies, as he welcomes back Delta

The Minister responsible for air transportation says Government is “very keen” to hold discussions with the United States Government on a regional open skies policy.

Richard Sealy, who is also this island’s Minister of Tourism, made the declaration as he welcomed back Delta Air Lines to Barbados after a five-year hiatus.

During an elaborate reception at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) this afternoon, he noted that the elusive agreement had been under discussion for some time, but said it was absolutely necessary to facilitate healthy competition in inter-regional travel.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy (right) presenting a plaque to Captain Allendale Watson, who piloted DL 483 from New York, during the press reception in GAIA’s Grace Adams Suite.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy (right) presenting a plaque to Captain Allendale Watson, who piloted DL 483 from New York, during the press reception in GAIA’s Grace Adams Suite.

“This would in turn drive down the cost of airfare and stimulate more travel within the Caribbean,” said Sealy, shortly after the 2 p.m. touch down of DL483 from New York, with several officials, including Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Irene Sandiford-Garner and the island’s Consul General to New York Donna Hunte-Cox on board.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy

Sealy said the return of Delta signaled the beginning of new non-stop weekly flights between Bridgetown and New York and Atlanta. He also said 160-seater carrier offered new connectivity through the Atlanta gateway for Barbados to approximately 220 destinations worldwide.

The Minister of Tourism also expressed optimism that having recently lost its direct American Airlines service from New York to Barbados, the decision to have back Delta would help to get tourism numbers back up from that important source market, which currently accounts for 21 per cent of arrivals.

Sealy further noted that today’s flight was the first since the establishment of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI). Therefore, he said, it provided an opportunity to truly test if the recent restructuring of the island’s main tourism marketing and promotional entities had made sense.

“BTMI now has the task of making sure that the Atlanta and New York flights not only continue but indeed the frequencies increase. The Atlanta one is particularly exciting because the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world and of course is a tremendous gateway, particularly to open up parts of the United Sates that we don’t necessarily get a lot of business from.

“In essence, there is an excellent opportunity with this Delta flight out of Atlanta to get the incremental business going.”

“We are actually increasing our marketing drive in the US and we are also dealing with this issue of brands,” Sealy said, while noting that “the US market tends to be more attractive to hotels that carry international brand”.

“I am very happy to see investment going on with so many indigenous hoteliers either reinvesting or investing a new product,” he said.

The Minister also indicated that the Jamaican-based Sandals group played a pivotal role in lobbying for the return of Delta, whose arrival follows swiftly on the heels of Monday’s inauguration of  Air Canada’s Boeing 777 service, which inaugural flight touched down at the GAIA with 320 passengers on board. Officials have estimated that the 340-seater aircraft will bring 2,250 passengers to the island per week, amounting to a 15 per cent increase in traffic.

4 Responses to Come in

  1. Princewill Chibuike
    Princewill Chibuike December 5, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Im African and I like Bajans a lot, could someone add me up please..

  2. Wendy Odle-Harvey
    Wendy Odle-Harvey December 5, 2014 at 6:29 am

    First tourism is Barbados # 1 economic industry then Mr. Sealy needs to make sure the island is on the cutting edge in attracting visitors to our shores. It is ridiculous that only one airline was flying directly to Barbados from New York for so many months and the ticket prices are so high. Who wants to spend 9 hours to get there.You have to get off of in Miami and get back on. We want direct flights. Time is money. There are lots of beautiful tourist spot with less fly time.

  3. Brimstone December 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    More political bru-ha,,,,,,,,,,, Sealy needs to tell Bajans the truth, which is, that American and Delta merged sometime ago and this is an economic move by American to gain the Philly/Boston connection going again.

  4. Cheryl L Gaskin December 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    About time we will be able to fly direct from Atl to Bim again. It will save time driving 8hours from georgia to Miami to fly direct to barbados.


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