Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- According to Statia resident Jan Meijer, it would be better to focus on more and better airlift with EZ Air and SXM Airways, rather than on Winair, or a ferry service.
Meijer writes his comments in a letter to the Second Chamber Committe for Infrastructure and Water Management. Meijer says that he has taken note of the fact that EZ Air has a new 34 seater plane, with a second one following shortly. Meijer also refers to news about the fact that the Dutch Government seems hesitant to provide additional financing to Winair, and would even consider giving up the 7.95% share they currently have in the St. Maarten based carrier.
“Although I see the BES reporter of July 30th with a photo with enthusiastic government commissioners, it is unknown to me to what extent they really make an effort to improve Connectivity. On the island I hear nothing about this at all, despite a motion passed by four to one in the island council on February 4, aimed at an improved air connection with the surrounding islands (especially Bonaire) at reasonable rates”, according to Meijer.
Meijer also points to the fact that EZ Air, a company of BES origin and partly financed with funds from the “local” pension fund PCN seems a good alternative to establish a connection between the windward and to set up the Leeward Islands.
“My advice (directed through you to the minister) would therefore be: Free yourself from the burdensome obligation to keep Winair in the saddle and renounce the Dutch interest in Winair. Instead, let the market do its job and involve EZ Air, in partnership with SXM Airway, in this picture.
Meijer finally notes that while he is not aware on the actual developments regarding the search for a provider of a Ferry Service to connect St. Eusatius to surrounding island, he considers the island is better served with an improved airlift, as opposed to a Ferry Service. “Forget a ferry and focus on an improved air connection”, Meijer writes in closing.
Meijer has also sent a copy of this letter to local Government Commissioners, Alida Francis and Claudia Toet.
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