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Butch holds talks with Air Canada execs

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Butch holds talks with Air Canada execs

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THE Caribbean’s leading hotelier Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart spent the weekend in meetings with the heads of Air Canada Vacations and Air Canada Leisure Group, hoping to keep the focus on the region as the airline looks to fly new routes.

Michael Friisdahl, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada and Eamonn Ferrin, chairman of Air Canada Vacations flew in last Friday for the meetings which were seen as important to ensure that the Caribbean remained uppermost in the mind of the North American airline. The two executives left the island Sunday.

“We felt that much was accomplished on behalf of Jamaica and the Caribbean islands served by Air Canada in ensuring the vibrancy of our critical partnership,” said Stewart after the weekend discussions at the Sandals Royal Plantation in the north coast resort town of Ocho Rios, St Ann.

“Canada is our fastest growing market for visitors and Air Canada has played a tremendous role in this.”

The airline recently announced plans to add Japan to its network of routes, as it looks to open up new routes in areas of the world not traditionally served by the company.

“We wanted to ensure that the Caribbean was not forgotten and remains at the centre of the development plans,” Stewart told the Jamaica Observer. “Our discussions were strategic in nature. I believe that Air Canada feels the same way about us.”

One recent indication of how important the partnership is to Air Canada was its decision to increase flights to Barbados by over 100 per cent, compared with previous years, following the acquisition of Sandals and Beaches resorts in that eastern Caribbean island.

Air Canada also serves other Sandals/Beaches destinations such as Antigua-Barbuda; The Bahamas; Grenada; St Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands. (Jamaica Observer)