By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
VIRGIN Atlantic yesterday announced the launch of twice-weekly services from The Bahamas to Heathrow, London, beginning November 20.
British Airways has also confirmed it is now operating three times a week to Nassau.
In a press statement, Virgin Atlantic explained the new services aim to respond to the demand from travellers looking to “swap their staycations for vacations in the vibrant city of London or to visit friends and family in the UK”.
The new service was immediately welcomed by Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar.
“We are incredibly thrilled about Virgin Atlantic’s new, twice-weekly airlift services from London’s Heathrow Airport, which will allow travellers to opt for a direct flight to the capital of the Bahamas,” he said.
“There is a growing demand amongst UK travellers seeking a tropical, Bahamian escape. We look forward to welcoming them to our beautiful shores to experience what makes our country a unique Caribbean destination unlike any other.”
Nicki Goldsmith, Head of Leisure Sales at Virgin Atlantic, said the airline couldn’t be more excited to add The Bahamas to its ever-expanding portfolio of Caribbean destinations.
She said: “We’re currently flying from Barbados, Antigua, Jamaica and Grenada and expect to restart Tobago and Havana, Cuba in the upcoming months. We look forward to launching new services from the Bahamas as well as the first direct service to Europe from St Vincent and the Grenadines in October 2021.
“As we head into winter 2021, we look forward to expanding our Caribbean portfolio from six islands up to eight and we are incredibly excited to welcome customers onboard flying from our destinations both old and new, heading off on holiday or travelling to visit loved ones.”
However, the Bahamas is on the UK’s amber list.
People travelling to these countries are subjected to taking a COVID-19 test before travelling and complete a passenger locator form. When arriving back to England, travellers must quarantine and take a COVID-19 “test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8,” according to the GOV.UK government website.
“You do not need to quarantine or take a Day 8 test after you arrive in England if you are either: Fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas; under 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK; part of a UK-approved vaccine trial.
“You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 whole days before the date you arrive in England.”
The company will launch twice-weekly services on the airline’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Flights go on sale from August 11 with return Economy flights starting from $977 per person.