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News Americas, PHILLIPSBURGH, St. Maarten, Fri. Sept. 16, 2011: British Airways will cut 6 percent of its seat stock to the Caribbean in 2012.

That’s the word from CEO Keith Williams, who made the disclosure to delegates from the Caribbean Tourism Organization at their first State of the Industry Conference in St. Maarten this morning, Sept. 16th.

Williams, while sharing the technological updates being made to attract more premium or first class passengers to BA, told delegates and the media that the reduction in seats to the region is necessary for the carrier’s balance sheet since leisure travel has not bounced back as quickly as officials had hoped.

The cut back will include a pull-out from the Jamaican Montego Bay market, which BA returned to two years ago.
“Our future is to return to profitability,” said Williams, adding that growth in a return to travel following the global recession has been slower that previously forecast.

“The APB (Airport Departure Tax” is further dampening demand,” he added.

“Unfortunately we struggled to attract premium volumes to make it profitable,” explained Simon Brooks, head of Consumer Sales of BA, of the planned exit from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

“We had less than 50 percent” going into Jamaica on some flights, added Colm Lacy, head of Commercial BA, Gatwick.

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