The dual-island destination of Antigua & Barbuda is seeing an uptick in Canadian traffic just in time for the winter travel season. A new offering of flights from Air Canada, which began on October 8, is expected to help realise a recovery to pre-pandemic airlift levels in the Canadian market.
The latest Air Canada flight into Antigua arrived carrying 106 passengers from Toronto and the aircraft was given a welcome back water cannon salute. Passengers were also greeted by cultural dancers, music and small welcome tokens.
“We are extremely pleased with Air Canada’s decision to both resume and increase service to our shores and look forward to extending our famous Antigua and Barbuda hospitality to our Canadian visitors,” said Minister of Tourism and Investment, Charles Fernandez. “We know many Canadians are more than ready for a vacation and we are equally ready to provide the relaxation and escape that Canadians have been craving.”
The rollout of the new service began with a single direct flight weekly from Toronto to St John’s. Service will continue to ramp up to meet the traditional demand of the holiday season, with Air Canada forecasting the eventual operation of five weekly flights at peak traffic.
Travellers from Montreal looking to fly south for the winter can look forward to once-a-week direct flights beginning December 23.
The return of Air Canada flights to Antigua & Barbuda comes in the wake of the destination’s latest travel advisory, which has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions for passengers arriving by air, yacht, and ferry. While a successful strategy of mass vaccinations and proactive public awareness campaigns has kept COVID-19 infection levels low, visitors are still encouraged to wear mask and practice social distancing in public spaces where crowds are likely to gather.
“Over the course of the pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda has seen a monumental, joint effort involving both the government and industry stakeholders to make the destination as safe as it can be,” said Chief Executive Officer of The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James. “With that goal now realized and our Canadian friends set to return, we are extremely excited that our guests will once again be able to experience everything our home has to offer.”