WILLEMSTAD – For the second consecutive year, the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports (DCCA) has held a conference over the past few days to discuss the future of connectivity between the islands. The focus is on exploring ways to make inter-island flights more sustainable, such as through electric flying or hybrid aircraft, aiming to significantly reduce emissions.
The airports are also considering options to harmonize and lower the rates for inter-island flights and remove travel barriers. Flights between the islands might become more efficient if they are treated as domestic flights, potentially eliminating the need for immigration procedures both at departure and arrival.
The conference, held at the Curaçao Marriott, was attended by representatives from the six islands, as well as officials from various Dutch ministries and foreign partners experienced in the subject.
Airport authorities are optimistic about the benefits of electric flying and other measures, but airlines are more sceptical. A panel of airline representatives, including Divi Divi Air manager Germaine Durand, EZ Air Quality Manager Ivo Oduber, and WINAIR director Hans Van de Velde, expressed considerable scepticism.
“More substantial consultations need to take place with airlines to better understand our needs”, said Van de Velde. Oduber believes that the technology needs to prove itself before airlines can consider its adoption. “I have no doubt that this is the future, but we are far from there.”
The Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) is also quite critical. “Local airlines have limited resources. All of this will require significant investment, and who will pay for it,” said CCAA director Peter Steinmetz during the panel discussion with regulators.”