Barbados is looking for a partner to deliver a multi-million-pound expansion of the island’s airport.
Kerrie Symmonds, minister of tourism and international transport in Barbados, revealed plans to pitch the project at the Global Airport Development World Conference next week (11 to 14 November).
The move will increase capacity at Grantley Adams International airport, Christ Church, by around 28,000 square metres by 2022.
The airport, which was built in the 1950s, can see up to 1,500 people in both the arrivals and departures halls at peak times.
Symmonds described the development partnership, which he envisages lasting between 25 and 30 years, as “a major investment in our major industry”, and stressed he wanted the expansion ‘to be environmentally friendly”.
He said it was necessary to accommodate people arriving for a cruise to Barbados.
The island’s biggest tourism market is the UK, which is “exceeding expectations”, he said.
However last week Lufthansa launched the first ever direct flight between Frankfurt and Barbados last week, reducing a 14 hour journey (via a different Caribbean island) to a nine and a half hour journey, Symmonds said.
Taking off three times weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, there are 900 seats available along the route every week.
Symmonds said the new flights were a huge boost to Barbados, as he highlighted the significance of adding new markets. “Diversity is important because we don’t want to have an overreliance on one market.
“Overreliance means when there are challenges in a market then we have major challenges in our domestic economy. Having a variety of significant markets helps us to share the risk.”
Symmonds used the potential of a hard Brexit deal as an example, but stressed Barbados has been unaffected by political certainty in the UK so far.