(Barbados Nation) One Caribbean Limited, the St Vincent and the Grenadines-based airline, will soon be operating regular daily flights from Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds at the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) group’s 20th annual general meeting held virtually yesterday.
He announced he had held a meeting with officials of One Caribbean “a couple days ago and they are making substantial strides in order to advance the degree of operation that they do in the southern part of the Caribbean”.
Symmonds added that as a result of that meeting, Barbados “can realistically see in a couple of weeks a hub and spoke operation that will embrace Barbados and a number of other islands of the Caribbean.
“Once they can get that operation fully up and running, we will be able to see at least four flights out of Barbados and into the Grantley Adams International Airport every day. Barbados will be the hub of that . . . operation.”
Just over a week ago, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the Kingstown-based airline could have begun regional flights as soon as last Sunday, as part of its efforts to fill the void left by cash-strapped regional carrier LIAT, which is facing liquidation.
Symmonds said LIAT would have brought around 250 000 people to Barbados every year and that density of traffic in the network would not be replaced overnight. He added it was going “to be a period of time” before a return to that level of traffic.
“We are doubly hit by the fact that circumstances which are attendant to LIAT (1974) Ltd impact on traffic from CARICOM in particular. Obviously the smaller hotels of Barbados would have been those which would have been most utilised by our CARICOM brothers and sisters when they come here about their relevant day-to-day business or even for purposes of recreation,” Symmonds told the IHB meeting.
He said with LIAT remaining grounded, it posed “another challenge beyond COVID-19 that we have to cope and deal with”.