It was a jubilant atmosphere at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) on Saturday, December 2, as an Air Canada flight from Toronto captained by Karen Mundell commemorated the 74th anniversary of non-stop flights to Barbados.
The 272 passengers who disembarked and 10 crew members received a lively welcome on the GAIA tarmac with spirited dancing and sweet live music.
Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), Shelly Williams who was part of the welcome party, lauded the longstanding partnership between the airline and Barbados.
“We are so happy to be celebrating 74 years of service with Air Canada. As you well know, post-COVID that was the first flight we welcomed back to Barbados and we continue to have a wonderful relationship with Canada and with this airline,” the BTMI chair said, while also hinting at “bigger and better” celebrations for the 75th anniversary.
She revealed that during the summer, Air Canada designated Barbados as a hub for the Eastern Caribbean, and noted that this speaks to the confidence the airline has in the country.
“Many may not know but in the summer this year, they made Barbados the Eastern Caribbean hub. They suspended services to some of the Eastern Caribbean destinations and re-routed them to Barbados. That is the level of commitment that Air Canada has to Barbados,” Williams said.
She added: “We are doing quite well out of Canada and we are happy to have a partner that is still a legacy carrier”.
Canadian High Commissioner, Lilian Chatterjee, who was also present said it was “an exciting day” for the two parties who share a rich history.
“The High Commission is thrilled and we can only look forward to 75 years next year.”
“Air Canada has a very, very rich history in bringing our peoples together – both Canadians coming here and Barbadians going to Canada – and we are thrilled to have that partnership,” Chatterjee told local media.