British Airways’ announcement of new London Gatwick to Montego Bay flights, beginning October 13, is being hailed by local tourism stakeholders as a major step in Jamaica’s COVID-19 road to recovery.
Highly regarded as one of the most popular European air carriers, the new flights will be operated by World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World, and will depart on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
“Great news and great signal to the market,” was the reaction of Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
“As we all know, prior to COVID-19, the European market, including Great Britain, was literally on fire where Jamaica was seeing a surge in new arrivals. Things came to a screeching halt in March, and is only now starting to show some real signs of life,” the Minister said.
Chief Operations Officer of Sandals Resorts International, Shawn DaCosta, said it is not surprising that major airline carriers are already looking towards a post COVID-19 era, where a country with a brand like Jamaica will continue to appeal to visitors.
“It will only get better as we go along,” he told JIS News.
For his part, Director of Tourism, Donovan White, said the move by British Airways can only be read as a sign of bigger things to come as “we continue our relentless march into life after the coronavirus”.
“We’re delighted that British Airways has announced a twice-weekly service to Montego Bay from London Gatwick from October 13, 2020, adding to its regular London Gatwick-Kingston service and further bolstering the number of flights from the UK to Jamaica,” the Tourism Director said.
In the meantime, operators of the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, MBJ Airports Limited, said the decision by British Airways is both welcomed and appreciated and augurs well for Jamaica “during this period of recovery”.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shane Munroe, said MBJ is not only “pleased with the addition of this new service” but “we also view this as a significant achievement at a time like this and speaks volumes for destination Jamaica and MBJ”.
Diane Corrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for the Caribbean, said in a statement: “We’re excited to be extending our network once again between London Gatwick and the Caribbean with the start of this new flight to Montego Bay in October.”
“Customers whose flights were affected over recent months, and who claimed a voucher, can use it towards the flights,” she added.