Bonaire airport finds new purpose as hurricane safe haven

More than 20 planes were parked tonight on the apron of Flamingo Airport in hiding for Maria's fury. Photo: Harald Linkels

More than 20 planes were parked tonight on the apron of Flamingo Airport in hiding for Maria’s fury. Photo: Harald Linkels

Kralendijk- Bonaire International Airport (BIA) seems to have found a new purpose as safe haven for airline companies during extreme weather conditions brought on by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Tonight over 20 aircraft from various companies such as Sint Maarten’s Winair and Puerto Rico-based Seaborne Airlines could be seen parked on the apron of the airport.

BIA-director Michael Nicolaas last week, during an airline conference held in Bonaire, had already pointed out that Bonaire was an ideal safe haven for airplanes to park their aircraft during extreme weather conditions. Apparently, the promotion by Nicolaas of BIA as safe haven during bad weather conditions did not go unnoticed.

Bonaire is relatively close to islands such as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, yet far away from the fury of hurricanes like Irma and Maria which are threatening the islands. The large amount of aircraft at Flamingo Airport, which is normally very quiet at night time, is not a familiar sight.

The unusual activity at the airport drew quite some spectators in the past days as more and more aircraft were arriving to be parked at BIA.

It is unknown so far how long the aircraft will stay on the island, but taking into account the slow pace with which Maria is churning through the Caribbean and widespread devastation it brings along, it will be at least a few days before all aircraft will be able to be relocated to their home base on the respective island.

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