Willemstad/HATO Airport - Friday, August 11th, 2006 – Today InselAir received the long awaited Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Minister of Transportation of The Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Kenneth Gijsbertha, during a special ceremony at the Aeroclub Curacao at the HATO Airport.
During the celebration, the name of the first Insel Air aircraft, a 19-seater Embraer Bandeirante, was also revealed. The airplane is named after the popular Curacao allround artist, Elis Juliana. The Embraer Bandeirante will be put into service for the inter-insular flights between Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and also Caracas, Las Piedras and Valencia in Venezuela. At a later stage, Insel Air will intends to also operate MD-82 aircrafts on the regional routes between Curacao, St. Maarten, Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Santo Domingo, Port of Spain (Trinidad), Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Insel Air International BV was founded by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Edward K. Heerenveen, years ago in anticipation of requesting the rights to provide interinsular flights between the Dutch Caribbean islands. After the bankruptcy of Dutch Caribbean Airlines, also known as DCA, Mr. Heerenveen revived the dormant company and submitted the necessary requests for an Economic Operator’s Certificate (EOC) and was granted this by the Dutch Civil Aviation Department in Curacao under the then Minister of Transportation, Mrs. Omayra Leeflang.
Until recently, only after the company threatened to take the present Minister of Transporation to court in attempt to force the issuance of the air operator’s license, did the process leading up to the awarding of the AOC finally speeded up. Minister Gijsbertha was instrumental in this process as he supports a liberal aviation policy and hopes that with competition, the airline ticket prices will stay as low as possible. After DCA went bankrupt airline prices on certain routes that the defunct company used to operate on rose significantly.
Transport-Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha (of the MAN political party) confirmed early this week that the last documents that are required to start flying will be presented to the company with a big happening on Friday, August 11th. “It’s then official”, said Gijsbertha. The AOC is just for the 19-passenger propeller aircraft that the company acquired a few months ago for the inter-insular flights and other short distance destinations. The AOC is definitely not for the MD-80/82 that the company wants to use for medium-range routes. “That’s a different process”, says Gijsbertha. He assumes that an AOC for this will take a few weeks. The airline company of Edward Heerenveen already announced earlier this year that they are going to work with the Surinam airline company, Suriname Airways, that flies with an MD-80 aircraft. Suriname Airways is the national airline of Suriname and is also well-known as SLM, the abbreviation for Surinaamse Luchtvaart Maatschappij. SLM operates flights to Amsterdam, Curacao and Trinidad.
In Curacao, Insel Air will compete with Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) that up till now is flying on the inter-insular routes of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, and to Valencia and St. Maarten with three aircrafts. Simultaneously as InselAir, DAE has also announced quite some time ago that the company will start flying on the regional routes, like DCA did before it went bankrupt. DCA used to fly to Port-au-Prince, Caracas, the Dominican Republic, Port of Spain and Miami.
With the newly received AOC, Inselair is now capable of executing commercial flights in the region. On the route to Aruba, the airline company has requested four flights per day. To Bonaire the frequency is unlimited, however Heerenveen is also counting on operating four daily flights.
AirStMaarten welcomes InselAir and congratulates Mr. Edward K. Heereenveen on his achievement. AirStMaarten looks forward to offering its passengers flights between Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Caracas, Las Piedras and Valencia on Insel Air. Hopefully, in the near future, also to St. Maarten and Miami.
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Famous Curacao artist unveils the
name of the Embraer Bandeirante
aircraft named after him:
Anecdote: the name is misspelt with
two "l". Mr. Juliana once said that his
mother was very frugal with his name
when she named him "Elis".