Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation discussed airline routes with airline executives at Routes 2017 (Pictured are: Colin Skerritt ABTA Director of Tourism Canada, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority Rolston Potter, Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism Aviation Consultant Lesroy Browne, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James, Norwegian Air Route Analyst Gerard Budesca, and CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority Stanley Smith)
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Antigua and Barbuda tourism and airport officials combined their marketing efforts to attend the tenth Routes Americas Conference in Las Vegas, where earlier this month they met with some of the most influential aviation professionals from across the Americas region.
Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation worked in collaboration to secure the most efficient way of representing its interests at the conference, which has in the past proved very beneficial.
Over a three-day period, the team conducted a series of 21 back-to-back meetings with existing airlines that now service the destination, as well as prospective new airline partners in anticipation of demand for the country’s tourism product.
CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James, said, “There has been a marked increase in demand for the destination following the strong growth in visitor arrivals particularly from the US market in 2016. Without exception, all the airlines executives who we engaged with were keenly interested in the destination and the opportunities that it presented for strong revenue yields. These high potential airline prospects will be vigorously followed-up.”
Each airline was given a detailed presentation of the destination, with particular emphasis on the state-of-the-art airport facilities, the planned growth in hotel rooms and the advantages that Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product presents, with traditionally higher than average revenue yields on its international air routes.
In addition to meetings with existing airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue to explore the options for new gateways, several new airlines were courted.
These included new carriers such as Southwest, and Spirit, which have already begun to serve the region with direct flights from the growing Fort Lauderdale gateway. The team also used the opportunity to meet with airline officials from Norwegian Airlines, Finnair, and Sun Country Airlines, to initiate business contacts and to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda remains firmly fixed on their radar as they look to expand airline routes to the region.
Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority chairman, Rolston Potter, commented, “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 our Category 1 rated facility, which has acted as a catalyst in attracting new airlines to the country.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s airport facility is the “Airport of Choice” for the Eastern Caribbean and effortlessly handles over 800,000 passengers per year.
The anticipated improved airlift into Antigua and Barbuda for the upcoming summer and winter season all demonstrate a renewed confidence in the destination from its long-standing and new airline partners.
The Routes Annual Conference and Exhibition is dedicated to existing air services and routes within the region and fosters strategies to maintain, develop and improve them. Each year the conference brings together key players in the airline, airport and tourism industries from the North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Attendance at past conferences has resulted in Antigua and Barbuda securing new and additional airlift to support the growth in tourism air stay-over arrivals.