Kralendijk- Clark Abraham of the Democratic Party Bonaire (PDB) believes Bonaire should work as soon as possible on establishing a locally based carrier. The comments of Abraham echo calls by former prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Etienne YS in his capacity as advisor to local government, and by the director of Bonaire International Airport (BIA), that a so called ‘home carrier’ would have great advantages for the island.
Abraham says that time and again it is seen that Bonaire pays the price when foreign carriers run into financial trouble. Abraham says that a home-based carrier can focus solely on the needs of Bonaire, which means reliable connections for locals to travel abroad and for tourists to get to the island in a fast and cost efficient way. “There are so many options to connect onto or from low cost carriers in both Curaçao and Aruba” says Abraham. “However, it is imperative that we are able to get their fast, against a reasonable price and in a reliable way”.
Abraham says he would like to see the efforts to establish a local carrier take form in a public-private partnership. “I also think that the airlift committee, in which important stakeholders such as the Tourism Corporation and the airport have a seat, be reestablished” according to Abraham.
Abraham also says he is disappointed in the current coalition and especially the leader of the Movementu di Pueblo Boneriano (MPB), Elvis Tjin Asjoe. “Tjin Asjoe had a whole lot to say when he was still in opposition. But now that he is a position to do something, we don’t hear from him any more”, according to Abraham. Tjin Asjoe had stated, before his MPB formed a new government coalition, that sanctions should be taken toward carriers not performing according to expectations and even pleaded for fines to be imposed on Insel Air in case of delays or cancellations.
The director of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB), Maurice Adriaens, has also been highly critical of the service Curaçao based carrier Insel Air provides. During the economic forum of September last year, Adriaens joked that Insel Air is specialized in providing tourists with destination Bonaire a “free vacation” on the airport of Curaçao, referring to the often hours- and sometimes even day-long delays in the flights of Insel Air.