Kralendijk- The current crisis at Insel Air will, without any doubt, have a negative impact on the inhabitants of the BES-islands. Although the government of Curaçao late last week decided to provide the local carrier with a total of 33 million Guilders (about 18.4 million US dollars) in ’emergency loans’ to prevent the complete financial and operational meltdown, the measures have come too late to avoid serious operational disruptions. Acting on recent incidents involving various aircraft of the Insel fleet, aviation authorities decided to impose more thorough inspections on all Insel Air aircraft. This led to the cancellation last Friday of nearly all Insel flights using the MD82/83 aircraft of the company.
Yesterday the situation was even worse, with Insel carrying out only flights between the ABC-islands and one single flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Curaçao. For today some of the international flights are being resumed, sometimes using the aircraft of third parties.
Much is still unclear when it comes to the exact situation at Insel Air. Insel-director Edward Heerenveen did speak to our colleagues from www.noticacla.com in Aruba. In the interview Heerenveen stated that all Insel airplane are and were always safe to operate, even though he did understand that aviation authorities wanted to assess this for themselves. Much more details about the current situation and what passengers of cancelled flights could expect over the next few days were not provided.
Regardless of the outcome of the crisis at Insel, once again especially inhabitants of the BES-islands are the ones impacted most by unreliable airline connections. Passengers traveling only to or from Sint Maarten and Curaçao are also confronted with major delays, but do not risk the additional burden of missed connections like is the case for people having to travel onwards to Bonaire, St. Eustatius or Saba. For the last few months, leaving one of the BES-islands to reach on one of the other islands on the same day, has been an ever-growing challenge. After suffering delays of many hours on the Sint-Maarten – Curaçao route, additional hour-long delays or the finding themselves stranded in Curaçao or Sint Maarten are quite common for travelers from the 3 smaller islands.
Bonaire also depends heavily on Insel Air when it comes to the transportation of tourist to and from the island. Tourists living through sometimes not only one but even two 8-hour delays during a single roundtrip to Bonaire for vacation purposes, may think twice before visiting the island again.