Barbados’s minister of tourism, Lisa Cummins, has hailed Aer Lingus’s decision to launch a new Manchester-Bridgetown service in the autumn, and has called for the carrier to offer Dublin flights in future too to build on the two islands’ historical links.
Aer Lingus announced its first direct transatlantic services from Manchester on Wednesday (24 March), flying to several destinations in the US and Caribbean – making up some of the transatlantic services Manchester lost owing to the collapse of Thomas Cook.
It will fly twice-weekly to Bridgetown from Manchester starting 20 October, with flights increasing to three-times-weekly in November and running through to 25 March 2022.
Initially, outbound flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing Manchester at 10.15am and arriving in Bridgetown at 2.35pm. From November, flights will depart Manchester at 11am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving Bridgetown at 4.35pm.
Aer Lingus will operate the route using Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 287 economy and 30 business class seats.
"This new service, from one of the busiest airports in the UK, will offer even more connectivity options for UK holidaymakers, business travellers and residents," said Cummins. "We look forward to showing UK travellers Barbados is a safe place for everyone to enjoy."
Cummins said Barbados shared long history with Ireland, one she stressed was of "great significance and importance to the many Barbadians of Irish heritage".
"This new Aer Lingus route will allow the relationship between our two countries to continue to grow and flourish," she said.
"With connectivity from Dublin, Belfast and Cork, it is now easier than ever for Irish people to come and explore the beautiful Island of Barbados. This is the start of a long-term relationship with Aer Lingus. In the future, Barbados hopes to see a direct service from Dublin to complement this Manchester route."
Cummins said efforts to reconfigure the island’s tourism industry to "reflect new public health imperatives" was under way.
"By October, when the service commences, our partners and Barbados alike would have achieved our respective vaccination level targets that allow for the safe resumption of travel and the return of traveller confidence," said Cummins.
Currently, around 30% of the adult population of Barbados has been vaccinated against Covid-19.