After a hiatus from Jamaica due to its borders being closed to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic has resumed flights to the island.
Virgin Atlantic flight ‘VS 165’ from London, England, carried some 192 passengers and 10 crew members to the Sangster International Airport in St James, on Friday.
During a press briefing at the Sangster International Airport, Airport Manager of Virgin Atlantic in Jamaica, Eaton Hubbard, told journalists that the airline was elated to return the island, as it is an important destination to the company.
He informed that the airline’s return has been in the planning for some time.
“I think Virgin took the decision to do our very best with the changing information that we were getting…to decide very early out that this was when we would start. Obviously it is a very dynamic situation, things have changed since, and will, we expect, continue to change, so we are very grateful to be able to start, and now it is just to be able to sustain and maintain this,” Hubbard said.
He noted that the aircraft, which holds a capacity of 249 persons, inclusive of an on-board isolation zone, was booked to take some 155 passengers to London that same evening.
Hubbard also informed that the airline is planning to send flights to the island twice per week, a number which should increase to three times weekly with the start of the upcoming winter tourist season.
He added that Virgin Atlantic has put in place several protocols to protect its passengers and staff from contracting COVID-19.
For her part, Visitor Relations Manager at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Andrea Savizon, told journalists that the JTB was “very elated to have Virgin Atlantic back on the island”.
She added that the organisation was pleased that the airline trusts the island’s COVID-19 prevention protocols, which has been put in place by the Government to contain the spread of the virus.
The island’s borders were closed to incoming passengers in March of this year to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and was reopened in June.