By Harald Linkels
Oranjestad- As has been predicted by this newspaper some time back, Statia’s FDR Airport is turning into a mini-hub, especially thanks to the execution of flights by CN-Express between Bonaire and St. Eustatius, with onward connection to the island of Saba.
Today three different carriers could be seen on the tarmac of Statia’s airport in the form of the Air Antilles ATR, a Winair DHC6-300 ‘Twinotter’ airplane and a Britten-Normander Islander aircraft operated by SXM Airways.
Although the CN-Express is also operated by Winair on a wet-leased agreement, the additional aircraft movement is a welcome sight at Statia’s airport. The island in the past saw less flights executed by Winair and especially the arrival of SXM Airways, represented on St. Eustatius by Island Essence, brings some additional competition when it comes to flights to and from the island.
Figures recently released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) indicated that the traffic at FDR Airport was up 19% in the last quarter of 2017, compared to Q4 of 2016. However, in spite of additional movements, according to CBS, the total number of passengers in 2017 on St. Eustatius was actually 11% lower than was the case in 2016.
The recently added flights by SXM Airways and CN-Express will undoubtedly result in higher number of movements and a higher number of passengers compared to the year 2017.
The PLP-Merkman Government also undertook the necessary efforts to get more airlift to the island, among others by attracting Skyhigh Airlines from Santo Domingo to carry out flights to and from St. Eustatius.