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Thomas Cook brings Manchester connection
By Kerri Gooding
The inaugural scheduled flight by Thomas Cook Airlines from Manchester to Barbados touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport at 6:10 p.m. on Sunday.
The flight was carrying 300 passengers who for the first time since Thomas Cook Airlines has been flying to Barbados, will be staying on the island, not merely continuing on to the seaport to board a cruise liner.
Captain Stephen Evans said, “We’ve been coming through Barbados for a little while carrying cruise passengers so it is wonderful today, really wonderful today to bring in holiday-makers. They are coming in on Thomas Cook. They are coming to stay here on the island and we are looking forward to carrying on this arrangement, to carry on doing this for a good many years to come.”
Thomas Cook Airlines has been participating in the air-sea transport programme previously, so according to the Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy, “the aircraft knows the route very well already”.
Sealy further noted that he was happy with the inauguration for several reasons. He said, “The flights are coming out of Manchester which is the third largest airport in the United Kingdom and of course, it is the largest outside of the London area and that is important as we try to get business from our largest source market that is outside of the traditional gateway.”
At present, the Sunday flight is one of the two weekly flights scheduled out of Manchester to Barbados for the 2013 winter season. Head of Communications with Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Nick Sandham told The Barbados Advocate that the Sunday flight is the only direct flight out of Manchester to St. Lucia and then on to Barbados. Whereas, on Thursdays from December 19, there will be another flight from Manchester via Antigua to Barbados by Thomas Cook Airlines as well.
Sandham also revealed that the Sunday flight will continue after the completion of the winter season and pick back-up after review, for next year’s winter season.
However, the Minister is hopeful that there will be increased frequency in the future. He said, “The service is providing 11 700 seats a year out of Manchester and we look forward to seeing where we can go from there.” He confirmed Sandham’s statement, but added, “Of course the plan is to have it twice a week, going through this winter period and then it will drop to once a week, at which time we will renew it for the next winter period, with a view of maybe having greater frequency or a larger aircraft or maybe a combination of the two. We look forward to that.”