By Harald Linkels
The Hague – The lifting by the Dutch government of the ban on civil servants with InselAir has -at least in the short term- no consequences for the flight operations of the so-called CN Express.
“The agreement for the CN Express has been entered into for a period of three months. We are now half-way. At the beginning it was agreed to hold an interim evaluation after six weeks. This will happen soon”, a spokesman for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said.
“It is not yet possible to say whether lifting the flight ban in the long term will affect the CN Express. Of course, this fact does play a role in the final evaluation in which it will be decided whether the CN-Express will be followed up or not. Incidentally, there are several elements that can play a role, such as the recent announcement by Winair to extend the Sint Maarten-Curaçao route to Aruba or Bonaire as of July 15. ”
Since 26 February, 2018 two flights of Air Antilles have been flying directly between Bonaire and St. Eustatius twice a week. Winair provides the connection to Saba. The Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland purchases a number of seats on every flight for medical transportation and RCN-employees. In addition, a fixed amount of seats goes into free sales. A single trip, according to the Ministry, costs 300 dollars.
The flights between Bonaire and St. Eustatius had become necessary after a ban was imposed by the Dutch government for travel of any Dutch Government worker (including those employed by RCN) on all Insel Air flights. The demise of Dominican Carrier PAWA-Dominican, which was at least an alternative for travel between Curaçao and St. Maarten, made the situation even more urgent.
Critical observers feel that the flights with a 50 seater aircraft between the two islands is not economically feasible.