London Heathrow to Antigua was once a stellar flight route. A direct connection during the 1980s went a long way to establishing Antigua as a premium Caribbean destination for UK travellers. Then in 1991 the route was discontinued.
Finally, after 30 years, it’s back.
Antigua received around 80,000 British visitors a year pre-Covid, with that number dropping to 5,000 during the pandemic. This hasn’t dissuaded British Airways for from (finally) re-launching their service.
The restart had been planned for later in the year, but, in a rare piece of positive news during the pandemic, the restart was brought forward due to a change in restrictions. As Antigua went onto the green list the first direct BA Heathrow to Antigua flight resumed on July 21st.
It’s a twice-weekly service as BA aims to claw back some of Virgin Atlantic’s market dominance of the route. It’s also a show of confidence in Antigua and Barbuda as a destination. The BA route will also provide an option for European visitors from countries yet to resume direct Antigua, or even Caribbean flights.
Colin James, chief executive at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is bullish about the rest of 2021.
“Normally summer would be our slow period, but this year the cyclicality that we normally see has been flipped on its head. Now summer is showing almost the demand that we’d see in winter. We’ve also seen a switch for British visitors from red and amber list destinations, such as the Dominican Republic and Mexico, to Antigua.”