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Flamingo Airport navigates mixed passenger trends in 2023: regional surges, European lag, and anticipated growth in North-American market

BIA CEO Maarten van der Scheer providing an oversight of developments at the Flamingo Airport. Photo: ABC Online Media

KRALENDIJK- The passenger numbers at Bonaire International Airport (BIA) in 2023 present a mixed picture. This was revealed by airport director Maarten van der Scheer during a presentation at the press conference of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) held on Wednesday. 

While the number of passengers from the region, in particular, is steadily increasing, the number of passengers from Europe, especially, lags behind compared to the previous year. The American market remains stable so far, but significant growth is expected in the coming months.

“Flamingo Airport has experienced modest growth in 2023, with some significant shifts between segments. After a significant increase in numbers in 2022, the Dutch market rationalized in 2023 with less capacity,” said Van der Scheer. TUI reduced the number of flights, while KLM swapped the Boeing 777 for the much smaller Airbus A330. This results in a reduction of about 100 seats per flight, and the available seats are also shared with Aruba because of the so-called triangle flights.

The airport is positive about the expansion of the number of flights from the American United and the start of flights from the Canadian Westjet, which will commence on December 12.

Inter-island traffic

Inter-island air traffic has seen a significant increase due to extra flights by carriers Divi Divi and EZAir and the launch of Winair flights to Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Although new flights from JetAir were expected, these, contrary to previous reports, have not yet started.

Overall, Flamingo Airport expects to end the year with 435,000 to 440,000 passengers, which would signify a slight increase compared to the previous year.

Facilities

According to Van der Scheer, Flamingo Airport continues to work on further improving its infrastructure. “Meanwhile, we continue to upgrade our facilities, for example, by completing the new conveyor belt in the arrival hall and constructing a canopy for arriving passengers.” Other highlights from the past year included the commissioning of the so-called ambulift for wheelchair-bound individuals and a facility for pre-treating wastewater from aircraft.

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