The Belize International Airport (BZE) will be open to accept scheduled international flights and foreign visitors on Thursday, 1 October 2020 announced Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow at a press conference in Belize city on Friday, 28 August.
With the opening date now set, American Airlines will be resuming Miami, Florida service on 1 October. Once confirmed October resumption dates (and routes) for United and Avianca will be posted here. Delta Air Lines has already confirmed a 20 November Atlanta, Georgia service resumption date, and we expect Sun Country Airlines to resume Minneapolis, Minnesota service on 19 December.
PM Barrow making the announcement via virtual press conference:
“I’m pleased to say that we have a firm date now of October 1st, 2020. This date is what we have fixed upon for two reasons, we are positive that all the protocols, the physical refurbishment or the physical alteration of spaces at the PGIA, the training of taxi drivers, the training of others, the continuing or continuous reaching out to immigration personnel and the customs personnel and the public health inspectors, that sort of thing put us in a position where we can say with complete confidence that by October first, we will have the kind of flow that is to take place through the P.G.I.A. down pat. So apart from knowing that by October first we will absolutely be ready, the second rationale for that date is the fact that it would have made no sense even if we could have managed it to do an earlier reopening because nobody was coming. We have now though confirmation from American Airlines that they will start to fly again to Belize on October 1st, 2020. They will come initially five days a week, every day except, I believe, Tuesday and Wednesday. And then United is also indicating that they will start coming back to Belize on a regular basis, they bring the repatriation flights every Friday as you know. But they will start coming back on October first and they are proposing to come every day. So October first it is.”
Belize PM enthused about Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card test:
“Yesterday, as you all in the media would know, news was globally circulated about the breakthrough development of an F.D.A. clearance for the Abbott Labs BinaxNow COVID-19 Rapid Coronavirus Antigen test. That test is ninety-seven point one percent sensitive, meaning that it correctly diagnoses those with infections, correctly diagnoses those that puts the Abbott rapid test right on par with the PCR regular test. Of course, we understand that President Trump is to announce a seven hundred and fifty million U.S. dollar deal to acquire one hundred and fifty million of these tests from Abbott for use in the United States. That sounds as though basically Abbott will be producing primarily, hopefully not exclusively for the U.S. market. Abbott has said that it will be shipping the tests in the tens of millions next month, right here September starting next week.”
“So American tourists and Belizeans coming back from the States should have no trouble bringing an Abbott test with them. This thing is so portable. I don’t want for them to test in the States and then bring us the results of their 15 minute Abbott test. I want them to bring the test and have the test administered right there at the airport so we can see. There won’t be any logistical problem because this is 15 minutes and you are good to go, but what it means whether they use the Abbott test in the States before they get here or whether they use it as I would prefer, once they reach Belize and disembarked this should cut at least by half any worry` we previously had about being able to find sufficient tests to be administered by us at the PGIA.
“That Abbott breakthrough should also mean a 2020 restart to cruise ship calls, since it will be so easy for the cruise lines to test passengers before they board. You know that the majority of the cruise lines, certainly all of them that come to Belize have said that they will not start cruising again until 2021, but that was before this Abbott test breakthrough. They are headquartered in America, so they will have access to the Abbott rapid test and that should mean they are able to test every passenger. I terms of the numbers that Abbott is saying the way in which they will mass produce this test, it should be no problem for the cruise lines to be able to test everybody before they board a cruise ship and so it strikes me that this will have to mean a reversion to 2020 restart for the cruise industry. It would then mean if I am right that the Abbott test breakthrough should also have an influence, also incentivize and earlier start for the return to cruise, that basically we are beginning to see a comprehensive, at least the possibility of a comprehensive reset for the entirety of our tourism product.”