London-Barbados ‘first class only’ jet delayed

Plans for a premium plane to connect London with Barbados have been put on hold.

Caledonia Jets, based in Glasgow, had aimed to launch its £7,500 return flights from Stansted airport to the Caribbean island today.

But the firm says the link is waiting for approval from the Civil Aviation Authority.

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The plan is to use an Airbus A340 with just 100 lie-flat seats, about one-third of the usual capacity. It is owned by a Maltese carrier, Air X, and will be operated in association with a company called Blue Sky Luxury which rents villas in the Caribbean.

The jet would fly out of the private terminal at Stansted, previously used by the failed US carrier, Eos, carrying 100 passengers the 4,232 miles to Grantley Adams airport in Barbados.

Until the coronavirus pandemic, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic competed with daily flights from Gatwick. But Virgin will not resume services for some weeks, while British Airways will offer only a twice-weekly service from the Sussex airport from 22 July.

Caledonia Jets says: “With first class seating throughout, the Airbus A340 allows passengers to feel relaxed with spacious distanced seating in a luxury environment.

“A range of champagne, spirits, wine and beer will be served by a team of VIP attendants at your convenience, alongside gourmet dining in the form of a luxury lunch and afternoon tea on the outbound flight, and brunch and afternoon tea on the return.”

The baggage allowance is a remarkable 90kg per passenger – four times the economy limit on BA and Virgin.

Travellers to Barbados are required to arrive either with evidence of a negative test for Covid-19 or “be subjected to a mandatory test on arrival,” according to the Foreign Office.

“You will need to isolate until the test results are provided,” says the FCO. “This can take a maximum of 48 hours.”

Instead, Caledonia Jets insists that prospective passengers stay in a “designated hotel in close proximity to the private airport terminal” thn night before departure.

“Here you will be welcomed by a member of the Caledonia Jets team where you will check in while maintaining social distancing requirements.

“From here, we ask you to relax in your room where a healthcare professional will come and carry out a PCR Covid-19 test.

“From this point, we kindly ask you to remain in your room while your test is being processed in a nearby lab. The following morning we will contact you with the results of your test. Providing your result is negative, we will inform you of the transport arrangement to the private terminal at Stansted Airport.

“Here you are welcome to board and enjoy your onward journey to Barbados in the knowledge that nobody aboard is positive for the virus.”

It is not known when the flights will now begin.

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