The Government of Montserrat has agreed a contract with Caribbean airline LIAT to operate a new scheduled air service between Antigua and Montserrat, starting 1 July 2008.The LIAT flights will replace the current air service operated by Winair, which will end on 30 June 2008.
Since Montserrat’s Gerald’s Airport opened in July 2005, catching a 20-minute flight from Antigua is currently the only way to reach Montserrat, other than by a private boat or aircraft.
LIAT has entered into a code share agreement with Carib Aviation Ltd on the Antigua-Montserrat route, which will also allow customers to connect in Antigua to or from other destinations on its network.
There will be a minimum of three return flights a day between Antigua and Montserrat during the low season, but this is likely to increase at high seasons such as Christmas. Carib Aviation will also schedule additional services to cater to un-seasonal peak demand for travel to Montserrat.
The new agreement will make island-hopping within the Caribbean much easier as passengers flying connecting to or from LIAT or Carib Aviation in Antigua will be checked straight through from origin to destination, avoiding the inconvenience of having to clear Immigration and Customs in Antigua.
The development of Montserrat’s new airport and the re-commencement of flights from Antigua in 2005 have played a vital role in boosting the island’s tourism industry in recent years. After Montserrat’s volcano rumbled into life in 1995, the former airport was shut due to its proximity to the activity, limiting access to the island.
Gerald’s Airport is situated in the north of Montserrat, which remains largely unaffected by the ongoing volcanic activity. Whilst the island was previously off the radar of tour operators, around a dozen have begun offering holidays on the island since the airport’s opening three years ago.