Bonaire EXCO Considers Air Travel ‘Public Transport’

Tjin Asjoe says that travelers have few other options than air travel, to leave the island and travel to the region.

Kralendijk- The Executive Council of the Bonaire Public Entity Bonaire says they see air traffic between Bonaire and the surrounding islands as ‘public transport’ and therefore also as the responsibility of the Kingdom Government.

According to the Commissioner, the citizens of the island are completely dependent on travel by airplane when it comes to family visits, a trip for medical reasons or a funeral.

“Last week I read with interest about recent statements by Mr. Peter Hartman, who as chairman of the Aviation Expert Group has done research to reduce the costs of air transportation from our island,” said Tjin Asjoe.

Tjin Asjoe and Island Governor Edison Rijna are both members of the connectivity expert group and have been able to give their input in conversations with Hartman and other members of the expert group. The deputy is of the opinion that the reduction of the travel costs between the islands fits in with the reduction of the cost of living on the islands that the OLB, in cooperation with the government in The Hague, strives for.

In the European Netherlands the government is responsible for public transport options between cities and different parts of the country. That is not left to the various municipalities.

In addition, Tjin Asjoe says that good connections and the availability of transportation are essential for the population and should also be a normal right of citizens of the Dutch Caribbean. “In the European Netherlands the government is responsible for public transport options between cities and different parts of the country. That is not left to the various municipalities.”

Tjin Asjoe points out that the cheapest ticket to Curaçao currently costs around 150 dollar per person. “That’s a lot of money for one person alone, but most people don’t travel alone. A family with 4 people will soon lose 600 to 700 dollars, if only with the trip to Curaçao,” says Tijn Asjoe.

According to the Commissioner, the lack of direct flights from Bonaire is a challenge for residents of the island in several ways. “Various airlines depart from Curaçao or Aruba to destinations in the region, but there are no direct flights out of Bonaire to these destinations. That means that our residents not only have to pay for the ticket to Curaçao, but that comes on top of the price for a ticket to the destination in the region, “says Tjin Asjoe.

Double taxation

The Commissioner of Economic Affairs is concerned about several issues that further increase the prices of tickets. “Our ticket prices from Bonaire include a 15-dollar tax, which is collected and paid by the airlines. If people get on a next flight in Curaçao, passengers should in fact only pay 10-dollar transfer tax, but tickets from companies that depart from Curacao also include a standard 37-dollar airport tax. In this way our travelers are taxed twice and pay way too much”, says Tjin Asjoe. According to Tjin Asjoe, travelers departing from Bonaire to the region pay a record amount of 52 in airport taxes, on departure alone, without considering what is charged at foreign airports for a return trip.

The deputy says that he is further concerned about the intended fee increases imposed on airlines in Curaçao. According to the deputies, the airlines that serve our island will hardly have a choice but to pass on higher prices for services to the customer.

Tjin Asjoe says that his government is looking forward with interest to the decisions that will be taken by the Dutch Cabinet when it comes to making and keeping the costs of air transport affordable and guaranteeing a certain connectivity between the island and the region.

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