Kralendijk- After months of intensive preparation, the purchase of two bigger Beechcraft 1900 planes and the execution of various tests, EZ Air yesterday received their Air Operator Certificate and the permit to execute scheduled flights between the islands.
The first flight between Bonaire and Curaçao will leave as early as tomorrow, December 23 at four in the afternoon.
“We are very happy that we can finally start. We have been working intensively for almost a year to make this expansion happen”, said Winkel.
The airline entrepreneur explains that the interest in the flights is enormous. “People are eager to be able to fly with us, especially on the route between Bonaire and Curaçao. The need is big, and between Christmas and New Year’s there have been no tickets available for quite some time. With our arrival on the scene, this will change”, according to Winkel.
Reservations manager Francheska Statie had her hands full yesterday with passengers who visted the ticket office in the Kaya Irlandia in large numbers. “We have been incredibly busy all day, and we have received a lot of phone calls and Whatsapp messages from people who want to travel during holiday and who, so far, were unable to secure any tickets” says a smiling Statie.
Online booking soon possible
According to Statie, the intention is that people will be able to book and pay for a ticket also via the Airline’s website, but the website still has some teething problems. “We try to help all people as well as possible,” says Statie, who also says that after months of preparation she is very happy that she and her team can finally get to work.
Chief Pilot Franklin Antoin explains that the carrier, despite the large demand, is starting off in a cautious way. “We start with 4 flights a day between Bonaire and Curaçao”, says Antoin.
“From January onwards we are going to increase the number of flights and we also start with the flights to Aruba”, he says. According to Antoin, the company wants to start on the right foot, providing reliable services, before the number of flights in increased. The expansion of EZ Air has been made possible by financing provided by the Pension Fund of the Dutch Caribbean, PCN. Valdemar Marcha, member of the Supervisory Board of EZ Air’s on behalf of PCN, is also very pleased with the strides made in last weeks.
Flights are like public transport
“This is great news not only for Bonaire, but also for Curaçao and Aruba. Because of the problems with Insel Air, there is a huge need for reliable and affordable transportation between the islands. Aviation has the name to be ‘risky’ when it comes to investments, but there is hardly any alternative for the islands. Flights between the islands are a form of public transport and can be regarded as essential infrastructure. Therefore we, as PCN, have decided to invest this venture after studying EZ Air’s business case. We also consider this in the interest of our pensioners “, says Marcha.
Marcha says that she feels proud of the EZ Air team. “As Supervisory Board we have seen first hand how hard the team has worked. EZ Air has a great and experienced team of hard working and motivated people. I have no doubt that they will be succesful” said Marcha. ” I also have to commend the people of the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA). On several days, even during the weekends, they worked together with our team until late at night, in order to complete the entire process as quickly as possible “.