Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy (left), presents a plaque to pilot, Captain Steven Hill. Looking on are First Officer, Heath Buskirk; and Chief Executive Officer of the BTMI, William Griffith.
‘VOTE OF CONFIDENCE’
Sun, 03/27/2016 - 12:33am Barbados1
GAIA welcomes inaugural JetBlue Mint Service from Boston
JetBlue yesterday brought another Mint Service Flight to Barbados, a move Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, says shows “a real vote of confidence in the destination”.
The Minister made the comments while speaking to the media at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) just moments after he presented a plaque to the captain and first officer of JetBlue Flight B6 25 in recognition of the inaugural JetBlue Mint Service from Boston. That Airbus A321 arrived just before 12 noon yesterday, carrying 154 passengers.
“It is significant because we only recently started the Boston service, basically this season and of course we started the Mint Service out of Kennedy. But I think it is a real vote of confidence in the destination that JetBlue, whom we have a relatively young relationship with, going into our seventh year now, that we have seen this commitment of the Mint Service from two gateways in the US.
That is not happening with any of their other international destinations at all, so it is significant,” the tourism minister contended.
He added, “The Mint Service of course is a business class seat, but business class plus because you can lie flat in it. We associate that kind of option with our transatlantic carriers mainly, so this is important; a significant vote of confidence.”
Sealy is hopeful that Barbados will eventually be able to boast of having this premium service offered year-round, and not only during the winter season. He made the point as he noted that with the seasonal Mint Service scheduled to run to April 30, 2016, there will only be a few rotations out of Boston in the first instance. These flights run on Saturdays, leaving Boston at 7 a.m. and arriving in Barbados at 11:44 a.m. and departing Barbados at 1:04 p.m., arriving in Boston at 6:34 p.m.
The Minister’s comments came as he referred to the “huge increase” in arrivals out of the United States (US) last year. Sealy said that in 2015, arrivals from the US were up almost 25 per cent up over 2014. He explained that accounted for just under 150 000 passengers, and he is certain these figures can grow even more.
“We have it in the works to grow those numbers yet further. So the JetBlue relationship, and the commitment that we constantly get of more flights, more quality seats like the Mint Service offering is extremely important, and we look forward to seeing that continue so we can continue to grow the numbers out of the US, and of course grow our numbers overall,” he said.
Meanwhile, Captain Steven Hill said JetBlue is very proud of its relationship with the Caribbean area and Barbados, and is happy to offer the Mint Service between Boston and Barbados.
“We are very proud to offer this product; there has been a very high demand for travel to your island and this product is a perfect marriage and we couldn’t be happier with the response which we received from your Government and your people here,” he said. (JRT)