“Massive reduction” in Barbados seats as St. Lucia weekly flights increased from 3 to 5
Virgin Atlantic will make extensive changes to its Caribbean schedules in Fall of 2013: Barbados loses, St. Lucia wins.
The changes are being announced almost a year in advance to allow for travel planning, and reflect where Virgin Atlantic thinks the market is heading. Several of Virgin’s Barbados Boeing 747 flights are being replaced with new Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which while new carry only 50% to 70% of the passenger load of the big Boeing while burning less than half the fuel.
“Can we honestly say that Barbados is a better destination that it has ever been?”
Make no mistake, my friends: this is terrible no matter how the ‘new aircraft’ are spun and promoted. The bottom line is that one of the premier carriers from our premier market is reducing seat availability by up to 36,000 visitors a year.
Why is this happening?
It is easy to blame the worldwide economic downturn for the slowdown in our tourism economy, for tough times are taking their toll. Even those tourists who do visit are not so free and easy to spend as they used to be. Shona’s little brother is working two days less a week and happy to have the work he does.
Times are tough – but there is more to this situation than the economy. Everybody knows that our product has deteriorated. Our hotels are old, our beaches sport rubbish where they never did before. The traffic jams are worse and the development plan that is nothing more than walling off the coasts all contribute to making Bim far less desirable a vacation destination than it has ever been.
Can we honestly say that Barbados is a better destination that it has ever been?
We still have lots to offer and some of attraction is about the cache of Barbados that no other island can equal. But ‘cache’ is one thing: actual delivery of product is another and increasingly Barbados is simply not delivering value for the money.
This is our choice, or rather the result of choices made over the past 20 years: mostly short-sighted choices that have lined the pockets of a select few for which the next few generations will pay the price.
This is reality folks, and it isn’t pretty…
Virgin Atlantic’s Network Scheduling Department is planning to cut capacity to Barbados from Winter 2013/14, while at the same time introducing new aircraft on the route.
Effective October 27th, 2013, the airline plans to replace 4 of the 7 weekly 747 services with their new Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
Current details suggest that the current 10:30am departure from LGW in the Winter will also be adjusted. Some days VS029 will depart at 10:30am, some days 10:55am and some days 1:25pm. Return flights from Barbados will depart some days at 5:45pm, some days at 6:05pm and some days at 7:55pm.
It should also be noted that the double drop service LGW-BGI-ANU returning ANU-BGI-LGW will also be terminated next winter.
St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago and Antigua will get only A330-300 service from October 27th, 2013 as well. This means, Barbados, Havana and Montego Bay may be the only Caribbean destinations to see Virgin 747 service from LGW next winter.
Currently, Virgin has two configurations of the A330. Either a two class with 255 economy and 59 premium economy for a total of 314 seats OR, 33 Upper Class, 48 premium economy and 185 economy for a total of 266. This is a massive reduction from the current 455 seats on a Boeing 747-400 and Barbados stands to lose between 564 and 756 seats a week if these changes stand.
The biggest changes to the schedule will affect St. Lucia. St. Lucia’s flights will be increased from 3 to 5 flights a week, but only one will terminate in St. Lucia, that is the VS031/VS032. Two days a week, VS089/VS090 will operate London to St. Lucia to Grenada and VS097/VS098 will operate London to St. Lucia to Tobago.
This information is of course subject to change and any changes/updates will be posted here.
… as posted on TripAdvisor