ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Monday March 30, 2015, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda has welcomed the decision by British Airways to fly from London to the Turks and Caicos Islands using the V.C. Bird International Airport as a transit point.
“This new air service comes with unique advantages. It actually means visitors from the UK and Europe as well as the Eastern Caribbean wanting to visit our friends in the Turks and Caicos Islands will be able to do so without travelling via a US port,” said Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy Minister Asot Michael.
“This is a major benefit as transferring at an airport in the US means obtaining a regular visitor’s visa or ESTA pre-clearance visas for all non-US citizens. Not only is there a cost involved for obtaining a visa, but untold amounts of time is spent standing in immigration and custom lines while transiting most US airports.
“We can promise all travelers transferring directly to Turks and Caicos a smoother, quicker and more enjoyable experience, plus an even more wonderful experience if they choose to stop-over,” he told the ceremony to mark the inaugural flight here on Sunday evening.
Michael said figures for the UK tourism market to the Caribbean have been showing positive growth and the rise in popularity of both Antigua and Barbuda and The Turks and Caicos Islands as top destinations is shown by British Airways agreeing to add a direct link between the two destinations.
“This new air service also means that for the first time in the history of our two countries there will be direct flights between the Eastern Caribbean and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This new flight means new opportunities and choices available to us for increased business activities and closer collaboration. The end result will be greater economic growth while, simultaneously building the spirit of regional integration between our two countries.”
Michael also announced that the Chinese funded new airport terminal here will be opened in June featuring a number of new systems that he said would greatly enhance passenger experiences.