Adrian Loveridge Column – Book or not to Book is the Question

One of the greatest challenges for the entire tourism industry post Coronavirus, in my humble opinion, will be the subject of credibility in the eyes of the consumer or traveller. Almost every day, often conflicting announcements, regarding the status of when ‘we’ are able to fly and from where, seem to hit the headlines.

Virgin Atlantic has stated that Barbados bound flights from London will only operate from Heathrow airport and this was highlighted in an advertised summer 2021seat sale launched on 16th May.  A cursory glance at their website show fare levels substantially higher than available in previous years for similar periods.

In a recent Forbes article, British Airways (BA) told staff that ‘flights at London Gatwick may not resume in an extreme scenario’ while at the same time also reporting massive redundancies involving 12,000 staff including 1,130 captains and first officers or 26 per cent of all pilots.

However, highly competitive fares for the beginning of 2021 from Gatwick to Barbados are presently bookable on the BA site, so mixed messages creating confusion.  British Airways currently hold 51 per cent of the take-off and landing slots at Heathrow and Virgin Atlantic only 4 per cent.  So if Virgin are planning to transfer many routes from Gatwick to Heathrow, taking that capacity with them, where are the ‘slots’ or take-off and landing positions going to come from?

Recently, Air New Zealand sold a slot pair at Heathrow for a quoted US$27 million and while there will be inevitable airline failure during this crisis any additional slots that become available will still fetch premium prices.

Prior to Covid-19, Heathrow averaged one flight landing or take-off every 90 seconds on each of its two runways or around 470,000 flights per year. Bearing in mind a night jet ban operates from 11.30 pm until 04.30 am. For travellers living north of London and using public transport to reach the airport, Heathrow will become a much more attractive alternative, once the new Elizabeth Line is fully open with its faster air-conditioned trains linking to major rail stations in the capital.

The importance of raising these and other questions now, during this continued period of speculation and doubt, is to allow our visitors, both returnees and potential first time arrivals, the maximum possible time to plan a holiday to our shores.

We are now just a week away from when two of our largest hotels, jointly with over 550 rooms, announced that they are going to re-open. Many are left to wonder exactly which flights are going to fill these properties, with no apparent national policy on the restoration of airlift and questions over quarantine requirements.

I am pretty sure this is all under discussion at the highest level, but everyone involved needs to know exactly what is going on, if we stand any chance of a speedy tourism recovery. The other area that needs urgent attention are the thousands of holidaymaker’s still awaiting refunds, either from the airlines, travel agents or tour operators.

Until their monies are returned without further delay, they are certainly not going to have the confidence to book another future flight or travel package with the prospect of putting additional funds at risk.

21 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Book or not to Book is the Question

  1. Antigua and St. Lucia have already announced that they will reopen their borders to mass tourism in early June, this will put pressure on the Barbados Gov’t to do same which would put the kibosh on mandatory quarantine for arrivals.

  2. The travel modality of my parents was the old steam ship. I would expect that in the immediate future cruise ships might be used to offer one-way tranfers across the Atlantic for wintering tourists.

  3. @ Sargeant,

    “Ontario premier makes public plea to ‘go get tested’ after province misses target 7th straight day

    The announcement comes as Ontario confirmed 460 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, marking the highest new COVID-19 case count since May 8.

  4. Sandals advertising on Canadian TV.

    Maybe they could charter planes for their guest and quarantine them in their all inclusive resort.

    • Several images on North American TV this morning which show thousands displaying scant regard for physical distancing.

  5. @Hants

    That is a two- edged sword some facilities believe they will be overwhelmed if too many people take up Forde’s plea, they simply don’t have the capacity to test in larger numbers.

    BTW keep your shirt on next time you go to Trinity -Bellwoods park 😊


    Images of crowds in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park sparked outrage and raised concerns the public health effort against COVID-19 is running up against warm weather — and growing fatigue of isolation.

  7. @Sergeant

    “BTW keep your shirt on next time you go to Trinity -Bellwoods park”

    Your turning on too many BULLERS, STOP.

  8. @HantsMay 25, 2020 8:37 AM
    “Maybe they could charter planes for their guest and quarantine them in their all inclusive resort.”
    Are they going to quarantine all their staff in the resort as well? Otherwise it’s not a quarantine.

  9. @plt
    And given the public inability thus far to test more than 1500/day, the great private opportunity is testing. The rumour mill says the low case Covid prov of NB and PEI will only open their borders to those with current Covid test certificates.

  10. Does anyone know anything about this proposed project?

    Read ePaper
    Home / Top Featured Article / Royalton comments must be sent by May 27

    Royalton comments must be sent by May 27 – by Barbados Today May 23, 2020
    Persons submitting comments on the proposed development of Royalton Barbados Resort at the Discovery Bay site in Holetown, St James, are reminded that they must be in by next Wednesday, May 27.

    The comments may be emailed to, or delivered to:

    Prime Minister’s Office Planning Unit, First Floor, Old Town Hall Building, Cheapside, Bridgetown, BB11142.

  11. @Heather
    Discovery Bay was sold a few years back to Starfish, one of several brands under Blue Diamond which is a Sunwing entity. Sunwing, better known as a Cdn Charter airline, also has a large resort portfolio. It has TUI as its major shareholder outside the founding family.
    This is an upgrade from Starfish to Royalton, another of their brands.

  12. We need either a vaccination or very effective drugs. Otherwise it won’t work.

    Or herd immunity. The Brazilians and Americans will soon be ready… 😉

  13. Ok, let’s lump the following as a tourist attraction: The Morgan Lewis natural experience, harp supper-gun that shot projectiles 200 miles into space, Concord museum allowing tourist to sit in the cockpit, Harrison’s Cave, the Animal Flower Cave, the beach that appeared behind Laurie-Dash/Manning’s on Bay Street within the last two decades and Sam-lords Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Rum?

  14. I guess we cannot mention the beautiful underground historical structure the idiots destroyed. That would have been a great tourist attraction.

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