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Airlines return to Trinidad and Tobago airports after 17 weeks

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All airlines operating out of the Piarco and ANR Robinson airports before the closing of TT’s borders in March 2020 have returned, according to the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT).

According to AATT’s corporate communication manager Zola Joseph, most airlines have provided winter schedules and should begin operating again between September and November.

The authority, on its website, said the airlines operating out of Piarco include American Airlines, Air Canada Rouge, Venezolana, JetBlue, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Liat, Suriname Airways, Turpial Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, United Airlines, WestJet, Rutaca, and Trans Guyana Airways.

The airlines operating out of Tobago’s ANR Robinson airport include British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor and Virgin Atlantic.

In response to e-mails, Joseph said KLM Royal Dutch Airline is expected to start the route Amsterdam – Barbados – Trinidad – Amsterdam (AMS- BGI-POS-AMS) in November.

“The authority has continued to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and the ministry’s implementation agency, Tourism Trinidad Ltd (TTL), as well as the THA’s Tobago Tourism Agency, to increase airlift into destination TT.

KLM is a Skytrax four-star rated airline and has an extensive network which includes services within Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America, and the Middle East.

“This route will allow us to build a market in Europe and undoubtedly assist with ongoing tourism efforts.”

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She said the authority had been able to continue operations at TT’s airports via a suite of robust covid19-mitigating measures in collaboration with the Health Ministry.

“Our covid19 response systems have helped us to achieve accreditation through the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) programme.

“The programme provides airports with an official assessment of how aligned their health and safety protocols and procedures, introduced because of the covid19 pandemic, are in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Council Aviation Restart Task Force (CART) recommendations. We continue to assess and evaluate our protocols.”

Joseph said the covid19 safety protocols at both airports include: face masks being required for entry into terminals and to be worn at all times in terminal buildings; temperature screening at entrances, international arrival points, and before security checkpoints; installing distanced seating, signage and floor markers to guide physical distancing of airport users; increased hand sanitisation stations throughout the terminal buildings; and physical distancing at all times.

Measures have also been put in place to protect all frontline staff.

These include the mandatory use of face shields in addition to face masks, both of which have been provided to all workers; the restriction of occupancy for all AATT vehicles to 25 per cent; the installation of sanitiser stations at all entrances to buildings and at strategic locations; the provision of personal sanitisers; increased cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising of work stations and all touch points; and, airport frontline workers have been given opportunities for vaccination.

Joseph said the authority is making every effort to ensure the safety of its workers, travellers, stakeholders and all airport users.

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