Antigua seeing enhanced air connectivity from major markets

Earlier this month, the annual Routes America conference and exhibition took place in Bogota, Colombia.

The conference is dedicated to air routes development through meetings with global airlines. This allows destinations to foster relationships with new and existing air carriers, to develop strategies, while maintaining and improving air routes.

Each year, the conference brings together key decision makers of global airlines, airports, and tourism authorities from across the Americas (North, Central, South America) the Caribbean, U.K. and Europe, to discuss and agree their air route networks.

Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of tourism, civil aviation, transport and investment, Charles Fernandez, led a tourism delegation to the ‘Routes Americas’, air service development event. Joining the minister from the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) were Charmaine Spencer director of tourism, Caribbean & Latin America; Norrell Joseph, sales and marketing manager (USA); Joel Henry, business development manager (UK) and Maria Britto-Bettini, managing director, BlueSea.

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism officials had a packed agenda, with 35 meetings conducted with airline executives over three days.

An increase in flights to Antigua

Following successful discussions with American Airlines, an immediate result was an increase in flights.

Daily flights from Charlotte, NC, into V.C Bird International Airport, will commence on December 5, 2024, and continue throughout the winter season. The Miami route will also continue operating two daily flights throughout the summer and winter, offering a year-round service from Miami International.

Delta will also increase service to twice weekly during the winter seasons for 2024 and 2025.

“We are enjoying increases in airlift from our established markets, with the U.S. continuing to show the most expansion, with more daily flights added for the critical summer and winter months,” Fernandez said. “We’re excited that American Airlines will be offering daily flights into Antigua from JFK and Charlotte in the winter and maintaining double daily services from Miami, boosting air connectivity through the carrier’s major hubs”.

In addition to increased air services with American Airlines, out of the US, the destination will also see JetBlue increase flights from three times weekly to daily in summer 2024. Delta will increase flights out of Atlanta to twice weekly for winter 2024, along with United offering daily services during the winter months. This growth in airlift from the largest source market will be vital to support the increase in rooms with new properties opening such as the Royalton Chic.

Canadian flights remain stable

Other noticeable successes were, Westjet maintaining two weekly flights all year round from Canada, while Condor restarts direct service from Frankfurt during the winter season from Nov 2024 – Apr 2025.

British Airways the largest carrier serving the destination from the U.K. is currently also exploring arrangements for daily service from the UK for the upcoming winter season.

All airlines that currently serve Antigua reported seeing a growing demand for the destination as a result of the aggressive marketing campaigns being rolled out by the tourism authority.

Participating in Routes Americas in Colombia also presented the opportunity to forge valuable connections with influential regional air service development decision-makers and other tourism and travel officials, particularly in the expanding Latin American market.

During a welcome cocktail hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority as part of the Routes Conference, to network with airline officials, travel trade, media, regional and governmental officials, the Minister said, “It is also important for me to emphasize that along with our established markets, Antigua and Barbuda recognizes that the Latin American traveller will be vital in boosting our tourism numbers.

“Antigua and Barbuda’s ability to forge strong and mutually rewarding partnerships within Latin America are critical to our long-term strategy, and the growth in our connectivity is a direct result of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) strategy to execute targeted sales strategies in key markets.”