Good For Barbados, Not So Good For Jamaica…
We’re sorry there has to be a loser in this shift, but happy that Virgin Atlantic thinks enough of Barbados as a destination to move it’s Barbados flights from Gatwick to Heathrow.
This hasn’t been “formally” announced yet, but the Jamaica Observer is running the story on the first page, so it looks like a done-deal. Here are some excerpts (and thanks to a early-riser reader for the tip)…
Barbados Gets Air Jamaica’s Heathrow Slots
VIRGIN Atlantic has decided to move its Barbados flights from Gatwick to London’s Heathrow, in the slots controversially sold by Air Jamaica, impeccable Observer sources said yesterday.
The decision which means that the highly prized slots have gone to a competing Caribbean destination, comes a week before Virgin, the United Kingdom’s second largest carrier, launches its new twice-a-week Gatwick to Kingston flights under the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Air Jamaica in May this year.
And in what is bound to be viewed as another blow to Jamaica, the UK airline is also likely to reduce the number of flights from London to Jamaica – from four to three – in the summer of 2008, the Observer sources revealed.
Travel industry experts also expect Jamaica’s loss situation to worsen, saying that Jamaica-bound passengers on flights connecting through Heathrow from continental Europe, would find it more stressful getting to the island and may just vacation elsewhere.
Virgin has apparently not yet made a formal announcement of the decision to move its Barbados flights to Heathrow, and efforts to get comments from the airline proved futile yesterday.
But travel industry sources in London said last night that Virgin had always wanted to move its flights from Gatwick to Bridgetown, the Barbados capital, which is a very popular destination among Britons, on grounds that it would enjoy a greater advantage out of Heathrow.
This week, the airline finally decided to move the flights beginning December 11, 2007 and until March 17, 2008. At the same time, Virgin Atlantic is pressing ahead with its plans to launch its Gatwick-Kingston service on October 30, undaunted by signs that the new Jamaican government is frowning on the sell-off of the Heathrow slots.
… read the entire article at The Jamaica Observer (link here)