Tourism Minister concerned over airline Caribbean flight cancellations


Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez says the local tourism industry has been dealt yet another blow following news that US-based carrier, JetBlue, will be cancelling flights to Antigua and Barbuda.

This comes after Air Canada’s cancellation of flights to the region.

The airline indicated it is mostly cutting routes it had added during the pandemic in the hopes of luring more passengers even as the number of flights had dropped. Between January 6 2020, and January 4 2021, it said, there was a 43.5 per cent decrease in scheduled flights worldwide.

About 65 per cent of the slashed routes are to Latin American and Caribbean destinations.

In a recent statement, the Tourism Minister said the move by the airline affects a number of destinations and was not a direct indictment against Antigua and Barbuda.

“But it is not good news for air arrivals…I think it is all a result of what is happening with the Omicron virus. It is very contagious and there is a tremendous amount of absenteeism and I believe they are cutting back because they have no staff,” he said.

JetBlue’s announcement comes just over a week after Air Canada announced its cancellation of flights to Antigua and Barbuda and other sun destinations.

He however said that on the brighter side, Canada-based airline, Sunwing, is returning to the destination as of Saturday, and will be operating weekly flights to the island.

“One hundred and forty passengers will be on the flight,” Fernandez said.

“This is good news to put alongside what is happening. Within another month or so, it is believed that the fourth wave [of Covid] would have started to decline and we are anticipating that this would allow for those who postpone their holidays [to] reschedule,” he added.

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  1. People say get out of tourism and into manufacturing. Is it that they prefer to be in the plants packing boxes, feeding raw materials into machines etc because we all cant be shift supervisors and managers?

    • You make an interesting point, however, a one trick pony isn’t very smart either. Furthermore, diversifying into SMALL manufacturing would be a good idea for small islands like ours and a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

  2. IMO the drop in airline flights worldwide is a DIRECT result of airline and government policies requiring vaccinations to fly. When half of the worlds populations have declined their airline’s and government’s offers of vaccinations and boosters, it’s no wonder that this is the outcome. As long as this remains the policy of airlines and governments, the the tourism industry will NEVER recover. WISE UP… you’re killing the economy by your own actions and the PEOPLE will hold the people that made these decisions responsible.

    • The vast majority of “tourists” that I know are delighted that airlines are requiring vaccinations and masks to fly, as long as the pandemic is raging. It’s comforting to know that the chances of catching a dangerous disease from someone who gets their medical advice from Facebook are greatly decreased when flying under current conditions.

      • Of course you’re entitled to your opinion but personally I disagree. What I’ve learned about the pandemic is that it’s the VACCINATED who are spreading the virus (spiked proteins) that are causing it to continue and create variants. As for masks, they DO NOT WORK. You are deluding yourself if you think that they do work.

        It is amazing to me how CRITICAL THINKING has been totally lost these days. FEAR seems to have overridden logical reasoning. I suppose when the reptilian brain centers are dominate the higher mammalian brain centers can’t operate properly..

  3. It’s only the Newark to Antigua flight and it has nothing to do with vaccines or goin into manufacturing, I’ve travelled that route twice last year and I work at the airport every time that plane lands JB looses money cause a maximum of 20 persons disembark.

  4. JetBlue, will be cancelling flights to Antigua and Barbuda.
    This comes after Air Canada’s cancellation of flights to the region.
    People not flying has EVERYTHING to do with the global covid policies.
    Manufacturing was about being a one industry country….

  5. The ALP’s low-rate tourism is dead! Antigua is late to the game, but we need to start diversifying away from tourism posthaste.

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