CAL resumes JFK-Tobago flights

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Caribbean Airlines Ltd plane – File photo

Direct flights from New York to Tobago have resumed.

On Thursday, Caribbean Airlines restarted its non-stop service between Tobago and JFK, New York, its first international flight directly to Tobago since March 2020, when the country’s borders were shut to restrict the spread of covid19.

The flight, BW 433, brought approximately 54 passengers.

Speaking with the media at the ANR Robinson International Airport in Crown Point, Secretary of Tourism Tashia Burris expressed positivity.

Burris said: “We are excited at the possibilities that have been provided to this gateway to North America.”

She said it was an honour to be at the helm to welcome the flight back to Tobago.

Recalling that in 2020, covid19 grounded much air transport when a number of countries closed their borders, she said TT was no different. She said the road to reopening was slow, as the primary concern was physically protecting the population from the catastrophic fallout of the virus.

She commended CAL on the initiative.

“Direct flights form a key pillar of our tourism thrust, a strategy that is predicated on us focusing on the introduction of regulations and quality standards to the sector to ensure that all our stakeholders, whoever they may be, can realise positive return on their investments.

“The THA is delighted to continue to partner with CAL to ensure that Tobago is adequately serviced locally, regionally and internationally.”

Chairman of the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL) Alicia Edwards described the direct service as “Christmas in May.”

“We’re really grateful that Caribbean Airlines has done this.” She said the resumotion of the service had involved a lot of work, “and we here in Tobago are grateful.”

TTAL, she said, has already begun working on a PR campaign to support and sustain the service. She said while she knows historically that this is not the first time this service has been tried, it was important to figure out that passenger load in both directions as well as cargo operations will open up trade opportunities, making it financially sustainable for the airline.

Acting chief commercial officer Herbert Ghent said in keeping with the airline’s promise to reset expectations for 2022, this new service will put 320 additional seats on the market and offer a dual cabin experience, linking the diaspora with home and allowing more options for flight connections via New York.

“It is also aligned to our mandate to improve connectivity to, from and within the region. At Caribbean Airlines, we recognise that we all have a better chance of rebuilding our tourism sector if we work together.”

The flight will be once weekly to and from Tobago and New York, on a Thursday.