Silver Airways received a warm Antigua and Barbuda welcome when its inaugural
flight landed at the V.C. Bird International Airport on Thursday evening, with a
direct link between Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
From a water cannon on the tarmac to the welcome banner and the VIP Lounge
decorated in pink, the airline’s colour, and a special double-decker cake to mark
the occasion; the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Antigua and
Barbuda Airport Authority ‘left no stone unturned’ to ensure that the officials of
the airline, the captain and crew, felt welcome in Antigua and Barbuda.
Tourism Minister, Charles Fernandez, said it is important that Silver Airways has
added VCBIA as part of the airline’s schedule, as it provides a link for onward
travel to Miami on the US mainland.
son, so it needs to happen at this time. We
are confident that it will work for two reasons; 1. It opens up the US market in a
big way, as over the summer getting flights from many destinations was
prohibitive. Now you can fly to San Juan and make your onward connections. 2. It
will allow Antiguans and Barbudans to be able to fly into San Juan for shopping in
larger numbers, now that there is a direct connection,” he suggested.
The minister believes that others from the neighbouring islands will use Antigua as
a connecting hub to travel to San Juan on Silver Airways, recalling that this was
once a popular shopping destination for islanders in the Eastern Caribbean.
Acting CEO of the ABAA, Avery Henry, noted that the VCBIA is a flag-bearer for
aviation in the region, and he is assuring the airline officials that their passengers
will be pleased with the service they receive at the airport. He too recalled that
travel between Antigua and Puerto Rico was quite popular and he expressed the
hope that ‘those halcyon days will return with the Silver Airways’ service.’
Following the brief addresses was an exchange of gifts between the ABTA and the
airline’s officials and crew, as well as the cutting of the cake.
ABTA’s Director of Tourism for the Caribbean and Latin America, Charmaine
Spencer, said there are plans afoot to promote the flight at both ends. These include
a ‘fam’ trip by travel agents to Antigua and Barbuda and other promotions.