Monday 19 November, 2018

New Heathrow-Bridgetown Virgin Atlantic flight is critical

Tourism officials greeting passengers as they disembarked. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes)

Tourism officials greeting passengers as they disembarked. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes)

Virgin Atlantic’s Commercial Manager Andre Bello has highlighted the need and urgency for the Heathrow flight to be added to their flight plan, not only to Barbados' product.

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He told the media at the ceremony for the inaugural flight to Barbados on Tuesday that this newest addition allows Virgin Atlantic to provide for each passenger’s unique needs and ensure that passengers have as many choices as possible.

“Being in the airline business they’re two things I have to do, one is to be on time and the second is to really recognise what is important. I look around at the crew and when I travel I tend to look in the aircraft and see everyone who is on board and I think a little bit about what their stories are because very often we have different reasons for the flight."

Virgin Atlantic inaugural Heathrow-BGI flight

Reminding that in Barbados they’re fortunate to still have a walk-in contact centre, he disclosed, "I get to hear some of those stories. Stories of people who are going for medical treatment, people who are going for a vacation, people who are going to get married and people who are going to see family and friends.

"Ultimately what we look at, what we try to do here with Virgin Atlantic is to have people facilitate those stories and one way that we do that is always to give choice."

Therefore he added, "As much as we’re happy to add the additional capacity through the winter season, what we’re really really proud of is that people here and from the UK have a choice of three airports from the UK London, Gatwick, Manchester and now Heathrow.”

With this flight included Virgin Atlantic steps up to a whopping 13 flights at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) weekly.

Smiling delightfully, he shared, “I even forgot that when I was talking about the eleven flights a week that we have coming off, that we have also two additional traffic flights which means we’ll have as many as thirteen flights on the ground per week.

"That ’s very frightening for me because as we develop as an airline our own reason for being is to actually serve our customers, to understand that they each have unique needs and we try to provide whether it be Wi-Fi on board or the airport that they choose to fly from, as much choices as possible.”

Singling out the UK as one target market, Tourism Minister Sealy outlined the government’s plan for Barbados. He said the aim is to continue seeing incremental growth in this area, with the help of the Heathrow flight.

“The truth is the United Kingdom market is our most important market, our largest source market. We’re unique in the Caribbean in that regard, we’re the only Caribbean destination that actually gets more Britians [sic] than Americans and even though they are challenges in the UK market we still continue to be very encouraged by what we are seeing." 

He further stated that it has been the deliberate strategy of this government to see that this market continues to record incremental growth "and that is why the Heathrow flight is so important.”