Another inaugural flight touches down in A&B
November 24, 2015
Pan Am World Airways (PAWA) Dominicana made its first landing in Antigua & Barbuda on Monday. Pictured: Airport Authority Director of Operations, Edward Gilkes (far left) with PAWA Dominicana’s directors (Photo by Tabari Tabor/OBSERVER media)
The Dominican Republic-based Pan Am World Airways (PAWA) Dominicana arrived Monday afternoon, signaling the first of what will now be a twice-weekly pathway from the Dominican Republic to Antigua and back – with stop-offs in St Maarten.
Speaking with OBSERVER media at the event’s ceremony, Airport Authority Director of Operations Edward Gilkes hailed the flight addition as one that can be sustained.
“This will lend now the ability for people to travel to and from Santo Domingo freely; there’s now the market for it, remembering that we also have a very large Santo Domingo population here in Antigua,” Gilkes said
He also appealed to Antiguans to look at this new airline positively – as a benefit to the country; and not with negativity driven by any pre-conceived notions of the Dominican Republic and Dominicans.
“Anything that you do for tourism in Antigua & Barbuda should be looked at as a positive, and not a negative,” Gilkes charged.
He added, “Antiguans may go to Santo Domingo for vacation and love it, because things there are not as expensive as they are here; so that will lend a positive impact to it.”
Also speaking with OBSERVER media was PAWA Dominicana’s Antigua Branch Manager, Carlos Benitez, who indicated that flight-route expansion would be just around the corner.
“We’ll be travelling to Cuba from November 30, which means that the Cuban community, and those Antiguans that study in Cuba – and their families – can now use (our airline), connect in Santo Domingo, and take a connecting flight to Cuba on the same day,” Benitez said.
He then took it a bit further: “We’re also looking at Trinidad and Barbados, from early next year. We are (also) looking to get a permit to land in San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Miami (Florida).”
Benitez is fully confident that PAWA Dominicana will be able to be competitive with established regional airlines like LIAT and Caribbean Airlines.
“We are ready for the challenge,” he charged.
PAWA Dominicana will fly to Antigua on Mondays and Fridays, with MD83 aircrafts that have a maximum 160-seat capacity.
Antigua & Barbuda is the first English-speaking Caribbean country that the airline will fly to, joining St Maarten, Aruba, and Curacao.