Will Barbados follow-up aggressively on this opportunity?
The recent announcement of a new direct non-stop service from Dallas to Barbados with American Airlines, scheduled to start on 16th December is more good news and offers tremendous opportunities for our tourism industry.
According to the DFW Airport Board, Dallas/Fort Worth handled over 56 million passengers last year from 175 destinations. 60 per cent of these passengers were connecting from other cities. The greater metropolitan area of Dallas is the largest in the south and the fourth highest population on any similar urban area in the United States, boasting over 6.5 million residents (source: US Census Bureau).
But even with these impressive statistics, it could well prove that our biggest marketing tool will be beyond this new gateway.
Hate Miami airport? You’re not alone!
There is no doubt in our experience that many of our guest’s loath going through Miami for connecting flights, especially the more mature repeat guests. Dallas will present in many cases an improved alternative, reducing the connection time and overall travel duration.
Some examples are: San Francisco (11 hrs), San Diego (9.45hrs), Seattle (11.35hrs), Las Vegas (8.55hrs), Phoenix (9.35hrs) and Salt Lake City (9.35hrs), in total travel time.
Even Los Angeles via Dallas will be just 9.35hrs away, comparable with any existing Miami or New York alternative.
Another area where I think we could capitalise on this new route is by targeting some of the 50 million American AAdvantage frequent flyer members. By using miles to reach Barbados the out-of-pocket actual cost is only US$46 per return ticket.
We have an incredible opportunity of reaching the world’s largest loyalty programme via American Airlines website, monthly emailed statements and their new Milestones initiative.
An increasing number of smart partnerships with other airlines like GOL will make it even easier to accumulate the required mileage, even if you are not flying directly with American.
“I must admit that I am impressed by the proactive approach the tourism policyholders have adopted in the Americas.”
Without doubt increased airlift and competitive airfares have driven higher arrival numbers. Hopefully, it will not end here and that efforts will continue to attract additional gateways.
Will WestJet be hamstrung by ordering short-range B737s?
Sometime ago, I tried to convince the then CEO of WestJet, Sean Durfy, to convert the options they currently have on new orders for B737 aircraft to the long range version (700ER).
This would enable, using Great Circle distances, for non-stop services to Barbados from Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. All these cities experience longer winters, giving us the opportunity of extending the traditional peak season months.
Perhaps Mr. Durfy’s replacement may re-consider.
I would also implore our policymakers to consider a once a week direct Ottawa service and to return to Halifax. I am sure they are also working feverishly on the current airlift challenges to the UK and Continental Europe.
29th July 2010
(Editor’s note: This article was published as received from Mr. Loveridge with the addition of the bold black titles by BFP. Several paragraphs were reformatted changing the break points, but the author’s words were left unchanged.)