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WestJet Captain, Desmond Jordan (right) and 1st Officer Peter Joseph, both of Barbadian lineage, hold aloft Barbados flags, after guiding the WestJet Boeing 737 aircraft to safety at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday.

 
   

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Westjet touches down

11/4/2008

By Regina Selman

As of this week, Canada’s leading high-value, low-fare airline, WestJet Airlines, will now operate four weekly services from Toronto to Barbados, and this service will further lead to a strengthening of ties between Canada and Barbados.

WestJet Airlines will operate from Toronto to Barbados every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, via its Boeing 737 aircraft, which carries a capacity of 136 passengers.

Yesterday, in the Grace Adams Suite at the Grantley Adams International Airport, a special ceremony was held to herald the start of such a service, on the occasion of the Inaugural WestJet Flight to Barbados.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, acknowledged that there is a special relationship between Barbados and Canada. To this end, his ministry is seeking to increase visitorship from Canada to the island, building on ties first established in the 1970s.

“We are game if Westjet is interested, in becoming the regional hub for more of your business and we would certainly like to see not four flights a week, but eventually, if we can have a daily service. Grantley Adams is already an established hub and we can feed business into the other territories. So I think there are some possibilities for even greater levels of cooperation with Westjet” he remarked to his Canadian counterparts.

“We think that we can grow enough business from Canada that everyone can enjoy. So we can handle the additional services from Canada and we are finally giving Canada the resources that they have been screaming out for, for some time” he added.

Meanwhile, Ralph Taylor, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, stated that the service has come about at the right time. Noting his delight to see a second scheduled carrier out of Canada, he noted that Canada was once the largest market for Barbados in 1979, bringing some ninety-seven odd thousand people here.

“This flight could not come at a better time, given the economic downturn and its effect on tourism. We know that Canada has been least affected by the global economic meltdown.

“The growth of the Canadian business over the last two years, shows that we are moving in the right direction, with this new Westjet service. The low cost model is an important option for travellers out of Canada. It gives us an interesting price point and seeks to make Barbados more competitive. It allows us to explore the Midwestern and Western Canada. This will no doubt have a positive effect on our numbers” he noted.

Flying the Boeing 737 aircraft to Barbados with 131 passengers on board, was Captain Desmond Jordan of Barbadian heritage, accompanied by 1st Officer Peter Joseph, who has Barbadian roots as well. Jordan, who noted that he has ties to the parish of St. Lucy, noted that he was happy to be back in Barbados and is looking forward to experiencing more of the country.

“It was not by accident that Westjet had two individuals of Barbadian lineage operating this flight. It was important to the company as we expand out to other destinations, to show that connection between the persons that work in the company and the destinations that we go to” the Captain said.

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