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TOURISM OFFICIALS OPTIMISTIC – Airlift capacity expected to increase in second quarter

Airlift capacity into Barbados for the second quarter and summer of 2015, which runs from May 1 to October 31, 2015, is expected to increase by 3.6 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William Griffith, made the disclosure yesterday morning during a press conference to announce the tourism performance in the first quarter of 2015 and plans to sustain the gains throughout the second quarter. He explained that this increase will largely be driven by additional flights into the country.

“Capacity out of the US will increase by 19 262 seats or 16.2 per cent and this is being driven by Delta Airlines, primarily out of New York and Atlanta. We have also secured additional capacity from American Airlines out of Miami, due to the use of larger aircraft from June through mid-August of this year, as well as the move from weekly service to twice weekly service out of Charlotte during the same period,” he said.

Even in the face of these increases, Griffith said that airlift capacity out of Canada is expected to decline by 7.1 per cent, as is the United Kingdom by 5 per cent and Germany by 6.2 per cent. However, capacity out of Brazil is expected to increase by an estimated 3.8 per cent and Trinidad is also expected to see improvement with LIAT set to restart a direct flight between Port-of-Spain and Barbados, four days per week. Capacity from other Caribbean countries is also expected to increase by 1.5 per cent, due to new flights from St. Martin and St. Kitts, he added.

While noting that there was double-digit growth in arrivals in all the major markets for the first quarter, Griffith, breaking down the performance by market, explained that the United Kingdom remained on top with 64 795 arrivals for the three-month period, an increase he revealed of 12.9 per cent, some 7 413 more visitors than for the same period in 2014.

He added that through joint marketing efforts with the two legacy carriers out of the UK – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, they were able to bring more visitors to these shores. He said British Airways enjoyed a load factor of well over 80 per cent on its daily service, resulting in an increase of 12.4 per cent in visitors, while Virgin saw a 15.6 per cent increase in traffic to the island. He said that Thomas Cook Airlines also recorded an increase of 4.4 per cent. 

In terms of the United States, the BTMI head revealed that the second largest source market saw an increase in arrivals of 27.7 per cent, accounting for 37 492 visitors. He said that this is the second highest figure recorded out of the US for this period since 2011 and he stated the present airlift situation is very encouraging, suggesting that further growth is on the horizon. Meanwhile, he explained while Canada was the third largest source market, it saw the fastest growth rate in the quarter. The arrivals out of Canada increased by 28.4 per cent to secure 30 937 arrivals.

“During the quarter, in-market activity led by Director Peter Mayers, coupled with a very long and brutal winter undoubtedly encouraged this phenomenal growth in arrivals… In response to the increased demand, Air Canada did introduce its 200-LR 777 Series from last December 1, 2014 providing an additional 2836 seats per month out of Toronto. Air Canada’s addition of a third weekly service between Montreal and Bridgetown from December 17 last year, utilising an A-319 with 120 seats represented a capacity increase of 39 per cent within the first quarter of 2015,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to arrivals from the Caribbean and Latin America, the CEO said that while arrivals increased from other CARICOM countries by 17.7 per cent, the highest since 2012, arrivals from Trinidad were down by 2.4 per cent. He indicated the growth from CARICOM can be attributed to increased lift out of Guyana, which was boosted by three additional weekly rotations. He added that in Brazil, where they are yet to scratch the surface, they saw a 10.6 per cent increase in arrivals, while arrivals from other Caribbean and Latin American countries increased by 8.8 per cent. (JRT)

Courtesy: Barbados Advocate

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