By Makeida Antonio
The inaugural Frontier Airlines flight touched down at the VC Bird International Airport from Orlando, Florida on Saturday afternoon, after almost two years of negotiations.
The event was especially historic as its co-pilot Aron Simon and one of the flight attendants are native Antiguans and Barbudans.
Ninety-seven passengers arrived on the first flight into Antigua just two days ago, and subsequently Frontier Airlines will operate direct services to the country every Saturday.
President and CEO of Frontier Airlines, Barry Biffle said that the straight flights between the two destinations showcases major growth for the company and its relationship with the Caribbean.
“We’re excited to begin the only nonstop flights between Orlando and Antigua and Barbuda today. Frontier’s expansion in the Caribbean, and now the West Indies region, highlights our epic international growth story throughout the past year, while maintaining the affordable fares that shape our ‘Low Fares Done Right’ strategy,” according to Biffle.
Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez who gave remarks at Saturday’s inaugural ceremony expressed pleasure at forging such a close relationship with the airline.
“This journey started with us just about two years ago. We met in Miami, Florida and we did a presentation to the Executive of Frontier Airlines and then to see you all say ‘I love Antigua! I love Antigua! We need to find a way to get there,” he said
Fernandez called the launch of the new Frontier Airlines’ service “welcomed news for Antigua and Barbuda as we head into the winter season”. He also said that the occasion comes at a time when there is so much controversy surrounding travel and vaccination.
“With competitive fares on offer and greater connections to other US cities out of Orlando, we expect to see a significant increase in stay-over visitors to Antigua and Barbuda from the US market,” the Minister of Tourism said.