Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Saturday announced the arrival of InterCaribbean Airways to Barbados, with flights expected to start from today.
She revealed that the airline, which is based in Turks and Caicos, had already started interviews for local staff.
“As I indicated in a previous statement, the Government of Barbados has met with a number of airlines who have expressed interest in operating in the eastern and southern Caribbean.
“Barbados is fortunate that InterCaribbean has been chosen as its southern hub with a view to expansion and the establishment of headquarters in the future.
“InterCaribbean has been operating in the northern Caribbean for almost 30 years but under different brands. Their flights will start from Tuesday...from Barbados,” she said in a media statement on Saturday night.
She added: “We have already seen some of the potential coming from this decision of InterCaribbean, with them looking for the rental of some homes and cars and office space. I am told that some of the interviews for local staff have also started this week.”
In reference to the fallout created by the demise of regional airline LIAT, the Prime Minister further expressed hope “that the final agreement for a regional bubble for air travel will be completed and started within the next two weeks so that we can leverage the minimal risk posed by moving within those countries of ours whose incidence is extremely low”.
“As I said earlier this week, we will work cooperatively to review our tax regime to stimulate regional travel. In this, I know our late prime minister Mr Owen Arthur will be smiling from wherever he is for he strenuously supported the need to review fees and taxes as an impetus for renewed regional movement of our citizens and residents,” she noted.
InterCaribbean Airways was established more than 28 years ago by founder and present day chairman, Lyndon Gardiner, a Turks & Caicos islander.
For more than two decades, its operations have focused on the western area of the Caribbean, with services in some of the region’s major cities in Antigua, Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, and Turks and Caicos.
Gardiner had recently announced that the company was committed to hiring some of the displaced LIAT staff while also seeking to increase the number of destinations it currently services.
Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines recently set up a temporary hub in Barbados to service the Eastern Caribbean. T&T’s borders remain closed since March 23.