British Airways has said that re-introduction of services to Trinidad and Tobago in March next year will trigger a loss of services to Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia from April 2007. According to the Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website the announcement came from the Regional BA District Manager to St Lucia and Barbados Nigel Blackett during an awards ceremony to travel agents here.
While tourism officials have speculated about the implications of the possible loss of one of two vital BA services to St Lucia, it was the first official announcement to industry officials.
Blackett said that BA will be returning to Port of Spain in March next year with three weekly services, which will be routed via Barbados in both directions.
“In order to operate these services we have looked carefully at how this can be done. We are able to get two of the services through increased aircraft efficiency. We have had to make the difficult decision to use the time allocated to one day’s flying to Antigua and St Lucia to operate the third service,” he announced.
However, the BA official explained that given the importance of Cricket World Cup to the region the airline has decided to protect the previously planned schedule of two services per week for the month of April 2007.
“But with effect from May, through to October 2007, the BA schedule will reduce to one service per week to St Lucia,” he said.
He added that the position of the airline for the winter season, starting end of October 2007, was not yet finalised and the airline was working with tourism officials in St Lucia and Antigua to find ways to re-introduce the second weekly service.
“We appreciate that this may not seem like positive news, however, we do believe that you will see some benefit from the additional capacity into Barbados allowing our tour operator partners to feed their customers into George Charles Airport in the capital,” Blackett said.
Tourism officials here have said that the loss of the BA service will have a significant impact on the performance of the UK leg of the industry during the New Year.