Antigua – Barbuda boost airlift as demand for the destination increases

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ST JOHNS, Antigua – Antigua and Barbuda will see a boost in airlift for the winter season as demand for the destination increases amongst travellers seeking to escape the cold weather.

The V.C. Bird International Airport will become a hub of activity as Air Canada returns to Antigua on December 6, while US and UK airlines add-on additional flights to the destination within the month.

Antigua and Barbuda minister of tourism, Charles Fernandez said: “We are heading into the holiday season with increased airlift which, will be a catalyst for the destination going into the first quarter of 2021. With the global dip in business travel brought on by the pandemic, airlines are shifting their focus and their planes, to the leisure travel market where the demand is slightly better. Consumer confidence is returning, and we are ensuring that we have the airlift in place to support the demand that we will see going into the first quarter”.

The minister reported that out of the US market, American Airlines will operate an additional daily flight to Antigua from Miami International Airport. That second Miami flight is scheduled to begin on December 17. The airline is also set to resume daily flights from the JFK International Airport on December 18.

Delta Airlines will also be ramping up their Atlanta service to Antigua in a move that will see the destination go from one Saturday flight, to five flights scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting December 18. Flights are also due to begin from the JFK International airport on January 16.

United Airlines will continue with a weekly flight on Saturdays out of Newark.

Chief executive officer of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James encouraged tourism stakeholders to remain optimistic going into 2021. “We are seeing an uptick in leisure travel, which is really taking up the slack from business travel. Demand for the destination is extremely strong.”

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the ministry of tourism have within the last few months held meetings with airline partners to discuss projections for the destination going into 2021.

“Our country’s tourism continues along the path of positive recovery with airlift increases. Five flights from Atlanta with Delta, is the most flights we have ever had. This airlift coming out of Atlanta is a vote of confidence in the destination,” James said.

“We’ve been constantly engaging with airline partners, and most importantly engaging with the travel trade to keep the interest and the drive in the destination.”

Arrivals out of the United Kingdom will also steadily increase as British Airways has announced the return of daily flights to Antigua starting from December 11 until January.  A strong demand for Antigua has also resulted in two additional flights being operated by British Airways. For the first time, the airline will operate two flights on December 19 and two flights on December 26.

The Virgin Atlantic service continues out of Heathrow.

Air Canada returns this Sunday, December 6, with a full flight. Sunwing and WestJet are yet to announce resumption dates for flights to the destination from Canada, but the carriers are expected to resume flying early in the new year.

November also saw the return of LIAT Airlines to the skies, with the resumption of regular commercial service on November 30. The airline will operate flights, five days a week to seven destinations: Antigua, Barbados Dominica Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, and St Vincent.

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