ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Thomas Cook Airlines inaugurated its non-stop weekly service into Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday, December 19, 2013. Thomas Cook flight number, TCX 816 originating out of Manchester International Airport (MAN) in England, will fly into the destination every Thursday, with a scheduled departure out of MAN at 10:00 am and arriving into the V.C Bird International Airport (ANU) at 2:45 pm.
This new airlift provides an additional 320 seats weekly in air travel between the United Kingdom and the destination this tourist season and adds an alternative gateway for visitors travelling from the UK into Antigua and Barbuda.
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation John Maginley said, “We have continued to work hard at growing the UK market in these challenging times. This new Thomas Cook service is testimony to the UK airlines’ continued confidence in Antigua and Barbuda as a leading Caribbean holiday destination.”
With the commencement of the inaugural flight on December 19, the Thomas Cook direct, once-weekly service is scheduled to continue travel to Antigua and Barbuda until Thursday, May 1, 2014, with discussions ongoing about the possibility of the airline continuing its air service agreement beyond May 2014.
Thomas Cook will be utilizing a fully refurbished Airbus A330 aircraft with a total seating capacity of 320 seats, with an economy-only configuration for this aircraft. This new service is the only route outside of London to Antigua and Barbuda and will provide the destination with more connections to other European gateways.
CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James, added, “The additional airlift is welcomed news by all local tourism stakeholders as it will open up the north of England and Scotland to our destination once again."
The occasion of the inaugural flight to Antigua was celebrated by Thomas Cook Airlines representatives and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority UK and Europe office by cutting a traditional cake, assisted by Anthony Cotton from Coronation Street, representing the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, at Manchester Airport. In Antigua, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority hosted a welcome reception at the VIP Lounge at the V.C. Bird International Airport to commemorate the occasion.
Christoph Debus, CEO Thomas Cook Airlines UK, said, “Today saw yet again another full flight to the Caribbean, with our new A330 aircraft starting our second weekly flight taking our customers to the beautiful island of Antigua. Our new route to Antigua is yet again great news as we continue to develop Manchester Airport as our long haul hub and is another step as we aim to become the best sun and beach leisure airline.”
Cherrie Osborne, director of tourism for UK and Europe, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority said, “We are thrilled that Thomas Cook has decided to launch a service from Manchester to our beautiful islands, making our destination more accessible to holiday makers in the north of the UK."
She added, “With temperatures averaging 27°C this is the ideal time of the year to visit and indulge in Antigua and Barbuda’s natural beauty, vibrant culture and stunning beaches.”
The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and Thomas Cook Airlines have been working on marketing the new flight service and the competitive airfares, both locally and in the United Kingdom.