-- Posts Summary: Airlines and Airports operating and not operating --

[Barbados] Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date

Eastern Caribbean, Trinidad to Puerto Rico
Post Reply
User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 32459
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

[Barbados] Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date

Unread post by bimjim » Thu May 21, 2020

https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/resumin ... -not-date/

[Barbados] Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date
Shamkoe Pile
MAY 20, 2020

The Grantley Adams International Airport remains closed to commercial traffic until June 30, however, this is not a guaranteed date for when airlines will resume flying to the island.

This is according to Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, who addressed this today during his promised bi-monthly media briefing on the tourism sector.

During the zoom press conference, the Minister was asked to provide an update on discussions that Government was having with airlines that wished to return to the island within a month or so.

“I cannot give you a date on which the airlines will be returning. We have taken a position that the airport remains closed to commercial traffic until the 30th of next month. If the happy circumstances arise that you have significant improvements, and we can feel confident that it is easy to reopen, then that decision will be taken, but until such time we are going to be very guarded on this matter, and go as fast as the data and the circumstances allow us to feel comfortable.

“Going about it phase by phase and step by step gives us an opportunity to protect our people while giving us an opportunity to develop some economic activity which is absolutely critical to the same people as well,” Mr. Symmonds responded.

Commercial traffic into the island came to a halt from mid-March this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Minister stressed that safety was a priority for Barbados, and any decision taken to reopen the sector will “not be date driven, but rather data driven”.

“I want to make it clear that we have not settled yet on any definitive course of action, not just in Barbados, but across the Caribbean and also with the airlines,” he said, disclosing that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet, both chaired a “useful meeting” with all the airlines that service the region last week.

“The airlines understand what we are trying to achieve …. Their interest as well is safely. The take away from that meeting is that there is no competitive advantage that anybody has over the other in terms of being safe. We all want the highest degree of safety that we can have. Nobody feels comfortable in reopening until you have been able to secure, first of all, the well-being of the people in your country and the workers, and secondly the visitors to the island,” he stated.

Noting that regional protocols were also being examined, he said officials were looking at criteria with regard to the data, managing risk and safety protocols.

These include possibly implementing a COVID-19 rapid test, which could be conducted on departure from the source market, on arrival to Barbados, or at both points if cost allows.

“This is a discussion that is being had around the region. In the absence of that, we are going to have to rely on the airlines being very robust partners, in the context of that which they do, to make sure there is a contaminant free corridor between, for example, when you leave JFK and when you arrive in Barbados,” he explained.

The Tourism Minister outlined that temperature testing and prior knowledge of travel history would be required, so that as much as possible persons exhibiting symptoms could be “sieved out”. Protocols were also needed for the appropriate levels of quarantine space for persons who may eventually test positive.

Minister Symmonds said that domestic protocols also needed to be settled because while there was a common understanding at the regional level, the sovereign state would have to implement as best as possible its own standards and due diligence to minimize risk.

“Bottom line is, the perfect scenario would be to have a vaccine, … but that is several months away …. In the meantime, life has to go on and we will have to exist with this threat we call COVID-19, until this time comes. So, therefore our [approach] has to be about managing the risk, minimizing the risk and making sure that we can still do business, while we protect people as best as humanly possible,” Mr. Symmonds said.

User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 32459
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Re: [Barbados] Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date

Unread post by bimjim » Thu May 21, 2020

https://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/n ... y-symmonds

[Barbados] Safety first, says Symmonds
BGIS
20 May 2020

Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds said today that the Grantley Adams International Airport remains closed to commercial traffic until June 30, however, there is no guarantee airlines will resume flying to Barbados at that time.

The minister said safety is critical in determining when flights will be allowed to resume and the decision will be “data driven". He said, too, that protocols would have to be implemented before travel can resume.

A statement issued through Barbados Government Information Service said Symmonds was speaking during his promised bi-monthly media briefing on the tourism sector, via a Zoom press conference.

“I cannot give you a date on which the airlines will be returning. We have taken a position that the airport remains closed to commercial traffic until the 30th of next month. If the happy circumstances arise that you have significant improvements, and we can feel confident that it is easy to reopen, then that decision will be taken, but until such time we are going to be very guarded on this matter, and go as fast as the data and the circumstances allow us to feel comfortable.

“Going about it phase by phase and step by step gives us an opportunity to protect our people while giving us an opportunity to develop some economic activity which is absolutely critical to the same people as well,” Symmonds said.

Commercial traffic into the island came to a halt from mid-March this year as a result of the novel coronavirus( COVID-19) pandemic. However, the Minister said safety was a priority for Barbados, and any decision taken to reopen the sector will “not be date driven, but rather data driven”.

“I want to make it clear that we have not settled yet on any definitive course of action, not just in Barbados, but across the Caribbean and also with the airlines,” he said, disclosing that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Prime Minister of St Lucia, Allen Chastanet, both chaired a “useful meeting” with all the airlines that service the region last week.

“The airlines understand what we are trying to achieve. . . . Their interest as well is safety. The take away from that meeting is that there is no competitive advantage that anybody has over the other in terms of being safe.

“We all want the highest degree of safety that we can have. Nobody feels comfortable in reopening until you have been able to secure, first of all, the well-being of the people in your country and the workers and, secondly, the visitors to the island,” he stated.

Symmonds said regional protocols were also being examined. These include possibly implementing a COVID-19 rapid test, which could be conducted on departure from the source market, on arrival to Barbados, or at both points, if cost allows.

“This is a discussion that is being had around the region. In the absence of that, we are going to have to rely on the airlines being very robust partners, in the context of that which they do, to make sure there is a contaminant free corridor between, for example, when you leave JFK and when you arrive in Barbados,” he explained.

The Minister said temperature testing and prior knowledge of travel history would be required. Protocols were also needed for the appropriate levels of quarantine space for people who may eventually test positive.

According to the statement, Symmonds said domestic protocols also needed to be settled because while there was a common understanding at the regional level, each country would have to implement standards.

“Bottom line is, the perfect scenario would be to have a vaccine, . . . but that is several months away . . . In the meantime, life has to go on and we will have to exist with this threat we call COVID-19, until this time comes. So, therefore our [approach] has to be about managing the risk, minimising the risk and making sure that we can still do business, while we protect people as best as humanly possible,” he said.

User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 32459
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Re: [Barbados] Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date

Unread post by bimjim » Thu May 21, 2020

https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/05/21/cau ... e-opening/

[Barbados] ‘Cautious approach’ to airport re-opening
Randy Bennett
May 21, 2020

In the absence of an accurate COVID-19 rapid test Government will take all precautions before reopening the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).

That is according to Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds, who has maintained that even though there is increased interest from airlines to travel to Barbados, the safety of Barbadians and travellers remains of utmost importance.

Speaking during a Zoom press conference today to formally launch the Tourism Recovery Task Force and Barbados Together Continuous E-learning programme, Symmonds gave the assurance that Government was taking no chances in welcoming visitors to the island.

He said a date had not been set for the re-opening because data was being used to determine the best time to do so.

“We have taken a clear position that we are not going to be date-driven on the basis of our re-opening the sector but rather, data-driven. The Prime Minister is very clear that that is the way it must be and that there are some criteria we are looking at with regard to the data.

“The first one would be ideally to have a rapid test which could be done at either the point of departure to Barbados or on arrival in Barbados and if it were practical and cost effective, both, because you can’t be too sure.

“But the reality is until we have a test which can give us a satisfactory degree of certainty that its performance is going to be such that you are now pretty much at the level of certainty that you now have with the test we use in Barbados for the testing of COVID-19 where you have a 99.9 per cent degree of accuracy…

“Until when we can get to something approximating that, then it is going to really be about managing risks as best as possible,” Symmonds said.

“Ideally, therefore, we would want to be able to identify a rapid test and this is a discussion being had across the region. In the absence of that we are going to have to be relying heavily on the airlines to be very robust partners in the context of that which they do to make sure that there is a contaminant-free corridor between when you leave JFK for example, and when you arrive in Barbados.

“We want to make sure that temperature testing is done, that the travel history has been done and that as best as possible those people who are exhibiting symptoms are being sifted one. Once you arrive here there has to be provision made in terms of protocols for us to have appropriate levels of quarantine space in the event that someone comes here and is discovered to have the symptoms arising,” he added.

Symmonds pointed out that airlines were already expressing interest in coming to Barbados once the airport re-opens for business.

“The good news is that there is still a lot of demand. There is a lot of pent up desire to travel… Barbados is not in a category of being less attractive at present. Despite our small size, we are one of the most attractive.”

Post Reply

Return to “Airport News - Eastern Caribbean”