British Airways to increase flights to St. Lucia

The St. Lucia government has welcomed the decision by British Airways to introduce two additional flights to the island from June next year after another UK-based carrier, Virgin Atlantic said it was pulling out of the route.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that the decision allows for St. Lucia to continue efforts aimed at increasing the number of visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom market.

“Based on the 2019 Virgin Atlantic schedule with three weekly flights, we had a total of 798 seats. When taking the ‘tag factor’ into consideration, we actually had approximately 399 seats per week,” he noted.

Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee said the decision by the British carrier, with whom St. Lucia has had a long-standing mutually beneficial relationship, certainly helps in filling the void left by Virgin Atlantic and their proposed pull-out next year.

“This new arrangement means that with more than 600 additional seats weekly, we now benefit from a net gain during July and August of more than 200 seats.”

Fedee said together with the additional flights, several other marketing initiatives are being explored as a means of imbuing added life into the British market.

The additional flights will bring British Airway’s scheduled direct service from London to Castries to nine flights weekly. Currently St. Lucia is serviced by 14 direct BA flights that interconnect between London, Trinidad and Grenada.

British Airways said that the new no-tag flights will commence July 4, 2020 and will run through August 29 the same year.

Earlier this month, the St. Lucia government said it had entered into negotiations with other carriers even as it left the door open for talks with the British carrier, Virgin Atlantic that has threatened to stop servicing the island from next year over the payment of an EC$20 million subsidy.

Prime Minister Chastanet told reporters that he is hoping that there could be an amicable solution to the impasse with Virgin but that his administration was already adopting an alternative strategy.

“Those discussions have gone extremely well,” Chastanet said, adding “our intention is to meet with British Airways and some of the other carriers who we have already had preliminary discussions with; but we are actually looking to put together a significant marketing campaign”.

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