Popular Canadian airliner, WestJet, is now back on Antiguan soil, providing travellers from the North American country with another means of escaping the cold winter where they can bask in the sunny, twin-island paradise’s embrace.
A symbolic water cannon salute greeted WestJet on Sunday (November 21) as the carrier returned to Antigua after over a year’s absence due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Investment, 94 passengers arrived on Sunday’s flight, which touched down safely at the VC Bird International Airport.
Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez, who hailed WestJet’s service resumption as great news, was among several high-ranking officials including CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James; Director of Operations at the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, Joseph Samuel; and General Manager of Caribbean Airport Services, Craig Richards.
Many tourism stakeholders in the twin-island nation expressed optimism since Canada is a key source market and income generator for the country.
“Heading into the winter season, our tourism forecast is extremely positive as we see consumer travel confidence grow and demand for the destination increase. Having WestJet back is a tremendous boost for us, and we are excited by the return,” Fernandez commented.
“Within the last twenty months we have put in place a number of measures to ensure all our visitors have a #sunseasafe vacation in Antigua and Barbuda,” the minister added.
Antigua and Barbuda’s latest travel advisory, issued on November 18, now allows fully vaccinated arriving passengers the option of presenting a real-time PCR test negative result of four days or fewer from the date of testing, or an approved Rapid Antigen test negative result of three or fewer days from date of testing to be permitted entry into Antigua and Barbuda.
The list of approved Rapid Antigen tests is provided on the official tourism website, www.visitantiguabarbuda.com.
The ministry, in its statement, further indicated that WestJet will continue a weekly Sunday service to Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport until next month when the service will be increased to twice a week.