AIRLIFT OPPORTUNITIES FOR A&B EXPLORED AT ROUTES AMERICASTuesday 11th February 2020
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials had a series of airline meetings with new and existing airline partners at Routes Americas.
ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (February 8th 2020) - Antigua and Barbuda Tourism officials had a packed agenda, at the recently concluded 13th Routes Americas Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, where they held four days of intense meetings and negotiations.
The annual conference and exhibition is dedicated to existing air services and routes within the region, and fosters strategies to maintain, develop and improve on these routes. Each year, the conference brings together key decision makers of Airlines, Airports and Tourism Authorities from the North, Central, South America and the Caribbean to discuss and agree their route networks.
The country’s delegation comprising of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) CEO Colin C. James, Tourism Consultant in the Ministry of Tourism Lesroy Browne, Dean Fenton ABTA Director of Tourism for the USA and Norrell Joseph ABTA USA Sales & Marketing Manager held over 21 meetings during the conference.
The team met with existing airlines who now service the destination, as well as prospective new airline partners in anticipation of an increased demand for the country’s tourism product.
Antigua and Barbuda’s record-breaking tourism performance of over 300,000 air arrivals for 2019 with a +17% increase from the USA was a key talking point with the US carriers. The country’s existing airline partners have all reported strong demand for the destination and are exploring the opportunities to increase service accordingly from existing and new gateways. These included American Airlines, United, JetBlue, Delta and WestJet who are seeking to meet the demand particularly at peak travel times during the summer leading up to Carnival, for Thanksgiving and for the next winter season.
New airline prospects such as Sun Country, The TUI Group, Lufthansa, Spirit and Flair Airlines most of whom requested meetings with Antigua and Barbuda were given a detailed presentation of the destination. Strong emphasis was made on, the expected growth in hotel rooms and the advantages that Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product presents with its traditionally higher than average revenue yields on its international air routes.
ABTA CEO Colin James commented that “for our airlift to keep pace with the recent rapid increase in hotel rooms and so allow Antigua and Barbuda to continue to fuel the growth in visitor arrivals, it is imperative that we actively promote and represent our interests at the conference. Routes Americas provides us with the platform to share the latest developments in tourism, and the facilities available at our award-winning Airport. These efforts in meeting the most influential aviation professionals have in the past resulted in Antigua and Barbuda securing new and additional airlift to support the growth in tourism air stay over arrivals”.
Antigua and Barbuda remains firmly fixed on the radar of new airlines as they look to expand routes to the region. The new carriers that were not familiar with The Sir V. C. Bird International Airport were particularly impressed with the host of facilities available at Antigua and Barbuda’s category 1 rated airport that operates on a 24 hours basis. Amenities such as an award-winning VIP lounge, and one of the longest runaways with its extension safety area were all key positive attributes that set Antigua and Barbuda apart as an airport of choice in the region.
On the heels of the most successful year ever in its tourism air arrivals, Antigua and Barbuda is poised for another record-setting year for summer and the 2020/2021 winter season as shown by a renewed confidence in the destination from long-standing and potential new airline partners.
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