Sunwing Airlines landed at the ANR Robinson International Airport in Tobago ten minutes after schedule on Thursday as it made its Inaugural flight to the island.
As the aircraft taxied down the runway much to applause from the many gathered, it received welcoming showers of water sprayed on either side of the plane.
At 2.40pm, the flight arrived with 127 passengers and operated by Capt Marty Neely, Capt Blair Pritchard and First Officer Ryan Isaac.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL), Louis Lewis described the event as important for the agency, adding that it signals direct service into Canada, which has been identified as one of the new growth markets.
“A direct service from an airline that has a tour operator branch that also has a hotel investment, you cannot look for a better partner.
“We at the agency would be working very closely with Sunwing and the marketing group to launch the brand, ‘Tobago Beyond’ in the Canadian market and at the very same time, we would be working closely with them to capitalise on their extensive network so that we can promote the destination in Canada,” he said.
Lewis said that in 2017, a road map was developed by the agency in conjunction with the stakeholders and one of the things set as an ambition is to have a direct service out of Canada by December 2019.
“Today I am happy that we are one year ahead of schedule and I think it deserves some recognition.
“We saw 127 passengers disembark from an inaugural flight, that is a strong demand and we can only expect it to go better. Traditionally, inaugural flights are very low in attendance… for one like ours, I think it’s a very strong signal that there is a marriage between the product, the promotion and the partnership that we have with the airline,” Lewis said.
While, Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles in welcoming the passengers stated that they have “just set foot on one of the most beautiful and scenic destinations in the world, an untouched gem, unspoilt, undiscovered which is beyond ordinary”, as he encouraged them to make the most of their stay by exploring and experiencing what the island has to offer.
“This once a week nonstop service from Canada operated by Sunwing Airlines is a significant new partnership and is indeed a landmark achievement for Tobago.
“It is the first time in the history of airline operation here at the ANR International airport that a Canadian airline has landed on this beautiful strip of runway, providing a direct flight service. This service is very important for the development of our tourism sector and has been one which our stakeholders have been advocating for, for a very long time,” he said.