Virgin Atlantic made its first flight to The Bahamas on Saturday, with the leg being described as a test, as the airline is scheduled to get its official welcome with all the fanfare tomorrow, Guardian Business understands.
“Today we take off to our latest destination, The Bahamas and we’ll be celebrating all the way there,” the airline said in a Facebook post.
“With 700 idyllic islands spread over 100,000 square miles of turquoise sea, it’s the perfect sunny getaway.”
Virgin is expected to make two round-trip flights to The Bahamas per week.
The Bahamas has been picking up numerous new routes from airlines like United Airlines, Virgin Airlines and Frontier Airlines. British Airways has expanded its service to six days per week.
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Joy Jibrilu said recently that The Bahamas has been trying to attract Virgin for some time and finally got the airline “to the table and showed them the numbers”.
“So, when they compared it to all the other destinations, they actually saw we were quite far ahead,” she said.
Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen said in August that the company was seeing an increase in demand for luxury holidays in the sun and added The Bahamas to its expanding Caribbean portfolio.
Jibrilu explained that flights from London’s Heathrow Airport have been paying dividends for The Bahamas, adding that the expectation is those flights will open up this country to the rest of Europe. She also revealed recently that travel data company ForwardKeys, which tracks forward-looking bookings for the ministry, logged a 250 percent increase in travel to The Bahamas from the United Kingdom this year.
The Bahamas’ stopover business is expected to be ahead of 2019 by 15 percent for the remainder of the year and for the first quarter of 2022, the country is down from 2019 numbers by 11 percent so far, according to forward booking numbers.