Amid the bustle of the first official service-day of the new VC
Bird International Airport terminal, a few travellers paused to gush over the new facilities.
“Wow! This is not Antigua,” were the words of one young man who arrived yesterday morning.
Coloured by the backdrop of helpful tourism ambassadors and serenades by Original Steel Orchestra, the traveller described the atmosphere as “welcoming” and “an upgrade” from his prior experiences landing here.
“From the entrance to the exit, everything is just intact; professional,” he continued.
Also catching the lad’s eye was the service, which he described as “so far, so good,” as he had no difficulty getting around after being assisted by airport staff.
The sentiments of good service were echoed by a young woman arriving from Puerto Rico. She described the terminal as “very, very good,” and also spoke to her pleasant surprise at passing through the new terminal. “I was expecting (to land at) the old one,” she remarked.
She compared the new terminal favourably to the Luis Muños Marín International Airport, the main flyway in her home country.
These ringing endorsements come just days after Antigua Hotel & Tourism Association (AHTA) Chairman Alex DeBrito expressed his hopes that the new terminal “start(s) to improve the opinion of people coming to Antigua.”
It seems to have already started doing so, as another traveller glowingly remarked, “My first impression was ‘wow….It’s for real’.”
“When I saw it, I felt so light; I felt much lighter. This is something good for me to go through,” he continued.
The frequent flyer described the facilities as “definitely one of the best right now I’m seeing, for all the airports I’m going through in the Caribbean,” and one that “can compete” with the top airports he’s been to across the globe, even though “it’s not as big.”
This high praise for the new terminal’s global standing was mirrored by a gentleman travelling to New York, who said it compares “very well” to the biggest and best across the world.
All the commuters who spoke to OBSERVER media expressed hope and confidence that the shiny new facilities will attract more airlines and passengers over time.
“The only thing missing is the planes,” reflected the first young man who spoke to us.
With a slate of new airlines already set to start service here – Jet Blue from JKF, from November 5; Air Italia from Milan, from December 13; and Seaborne Airlines from Puerto Rico, from December 20 – the answer to these hopes might soon be a bit clearer.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.