Barbados welcomes tourists as commercial flight returns

Barbados welcomes tourists as commercial flight returns

Barbados welcomed its first guests on Saturday as Grantley Adams International Airport officially reopened to commercial flights. Air Canada Flight 966 from Toronto touched down in the island at approximately 2:20 p.m. with 132 passengers

As passengers disembarked in batches, they were greeted by the melodious sounds of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band. Among the many passengers was the Canadian High Commissioner to Barbados, Marie Legault.

On hand to witness the arrival of the first flight was Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, and senior officials from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

The airport implemented strict COVID-19 protocols including numerous sanitization stations, increased signage related to the new arrivals process and affixed physical distancing markers on seats and floors. All airport employees wore personal protective equipment, including face shields and masks.

Port health officials were on hand to verify the negative PCR COVID-19 tests results from passengers and give directions as necessary to those not meeting the requirements. Passengers without PCR test or who didn’t meet the verification requirements were sent to the on-site testing facility.

Gate 14 which previously facilitated transfer passengers, has been transformed into a new arrivals hall, equipped with a thermal imaging scanner, an immigration area, a testing bay, seating and a luggage collection point.

Commenting on the entire process, Minister Symmonds said he was “relatively satisfied” that operations went as planned, but disclosed a few amendments may be made going forward.

“The vast majority of people did come with a negative test.  As they went down the corridor…, the health officials validate your test and once they are satisfied you go through to arrivals,” Symmonds said.

The Tourism Minister disclosed that approximately 15 to 20 passengers were processed in the testing facility, and would await their results at an approved facility.

Persons travelling to Barbados are encouraged to take a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to their departure.