Printed in TODAY, Tuesday, July 18, 2006
TakeAir Dominica makes inaugural flight to St. Maarten


Airport - Seven passengers traveled on the inaugural non-stop, direct flight of Take-Air from Dominica to St. Maarten that arrived at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) yesterday morning at 9:00am.

Station Manager of the Airline in Dominica, Irwin Ferrera, is confident demand for the flight will increase very soon that will prompt daily flights. Currently Take Air will fly only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays direct to St. Maarten from Dominica.

TakeAir can accommodate 19 passengers with an estimated flying time of one hour. Flights are scheduled to depart Canefield Airport in Dominica at 7:15am and arrive on St. Maarten at 8:15am. Flights from St. Maarten will leave at 9:30am but Ferrera said as the demand increases, a flexible schedule would be developed.

Present at a press conference yesterday at the Heads of States Room at the PJIAE N.V. Airport were Take Air President, Samuel Vivares, Ferrera, Kenneth Long, Director of Operations Division at PJIA, Julie Courbier, Sales and Marketing Manager of Take Airlines, Peter Blackman of Juliana Airport Handlers and Dylcia Lake, Managing Director of Juliana Airport Handling NV.

Ferrera said that fares on TakeAir would range from EC$ 664 (US$ 220) in the Y-Fare package and the V-Fare package, which is a promotional fare of EC$ 464 (US$ 175). The one-way on the latter fare is US$100, Ferrera said. Both prices are for return tickets; the Y-Fare is valid for up to a year and the V-Fare for six days. Changes in reservations can be made to Y-Fare but not to the V-Fare.

Ferrera disclosed that TakeAirLines is a French company based in Dominica. TakeAir, Ferrera said, is destined to bridge the gap between St. Maarten and Dominica. “St. Maarten, over the years, is a well known destination to the Dominican public for business, for pleasure and to visit friends and families.” Ferrera said at the Princess Juliana International Airport Enterprises N.V. airport shortly after the plane landed.

Take Air Lines saw it fit to come into that market because there has been a demand for this service, especially by the Dominican public and visitors alike. “Before the arrival of Take Airlines, there was no service between Juliana and Canefield Airport in Dominica.”

Anyone going to Dominica had to travel through the Melville Hall Airport in Roseau, the capital city of Dominica (DOM). “We are also looking forward to assist the Dominican public (on St. Maarten) to get packages, mail to their relatives in Dominica.” Ferrera said. Take Airlines is fully certified by the French Authority and met all the requirements of the Directorate of Civil Aviation of the OECS of which Dominica is a member.

The planes used by Take Air have been around for a while, Ferrera said, and are similar to those used by Nature Islands Air Caribe in the early 1990s. “The airplanes are very comfortable and the pilots are well trained and experienced.” Ferrera said. Take Airline, the parent company of Take Air which is based in Martinique, travels to the Grenadines, Barbados, and St. Lucia and flies between Barbados and Antigua.

Ferrera said that Take Air would like to fly any route where there is a demand but this is limited because of aviation regulations. He however hopes that more markets would be opened, allowing the airline to travel other routes. Take Air would be expanding to the French islands if the demand is there, Ferrera said. Ferrera said other Take Airlines officials were on the island yesterday to set up its operation here with its agent, Juliana Handlers. “Our agent here has been receiving several calls and I must say that it is showing a positive sign that the airline will take off from here.” Ferrera said. He expects the flights on Take Air on this route to be full by Friday.

President Director General of Take Airlines, Samuel Vivares hopes to have more passengers from St. Maarten per week in order for the airline to increase its flights to the island. He said that Take Air is not a low cost carrier but will offer good prices for the market it serves.

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