BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday December 18, 2018 – Barbados may not have an agreement with France for air services, but the island has signed agreements that will see greater connectivity and the movement of visitors between the two countries.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds has approved the signing of a Code Share Agreement between French-owned airlines Air Antilles and Air Caribe.
He explained that under the agreement, Air Caribe would bring visitors from France or Europe into Martinique where they would connect to Barbados via Air Antilles Express.
“The issue here is the connectivity; the issue here is getting more European visitors to Barbados and my Ministry is working very, very hard at trying to expand the amount of…connectivity,” he said.
“We are talking about identifying gateways and partnering with airlines that have great reach so as to bring more people from more destinations in different markets, [and] Europe is one of those markets that we are going to be paying tremendous attention to as we go forward.”
Minister Symmonds also disclosed that major infrastructural work, which will include the repaving of the runway at the Grantley Adams International Airport, is scheduled to begin by March next year.
He said funding for the resurfacing of the runway has already been sourced and the legal work completed.
The tendering process, which is expected to be conducted during this month, should be completed by January, Symmonds said, and this would allow the work to start by March.
Since the winter season would still be underway, the minister said the initial work would be “at the distant ends of the runway so that you are not working on the middle to offset the additional traffic that will be coming in at that time”. The re-pavement of the middle section will be done at the end of the winter season when there is less pressure on the area, he said.
Some refurbishment work has already started in other sections of the airport and was well advanced at Gates 3 and 14, Symmonds said, noting that the refurbishment of Gate 14 was expected to be completed by Thursday, and the area would be immediately tested with the arrival of 11 air- to-sea transfers on that day, bringing more than 3, 000 passengers, in addition to the regular flights. The refurbishment includes seating, tiling, air-conditioning and upgraded bathrooms.