Kralendijk / Willemstad – Local carrier EZ Air will be adding larger aircraft to its existing fleet of two 19-seater Beechcraft aircraft and one 9-seater Britten-Norman Islander.
The larger aircraft will reinforce the fleet around mid-2021. The addition of the two larger aircraft comes after a careful analysis of both the current fleet and the new aircraft to be added. “It may seem like an odd moment to expand, but in fact we were already working on this before the Covid-19 crisis hit us,” says CEO and shareholder Rene Winkel.
Although the circumstances have changed drastically in the past year, the airline sees various opportunities in the current market. Winkel says the two Beechcraft planes have proven themselves over the past two years and have done an excellent job. “At the same time, we notice that on many flights we have more demand than seats. Another issue is that on certain routes, like the one between Bonaire and St. Eustatius, luggage sometimes stays behind, because of space or weight limitations. This of course is not pleasant for either the passengers, or for us”.
The addition of the new, bigger planes also opens the possibility to serve more destinations in the region. Although EZ Air is initially starting with the addition of two aircraft, a third aircraft is also ready to further strengthen the fleet. “And, if necessary, a fourth or fifth,” says Winkel. If all goes according to plan, EZ Air’s network will consist of approximately 10 regional destinations after the addition of the new aircraft.
A big change for EZ Air, but also for the passengers, is that the new aircraft will have cabin crew on board. “Aircraft between 20 and 50 seats must have at least 1 steward or stewardess on board for flight safety,” says commercial director Sueyenne Dammerman, who in the past also worked as a stewardess at Air Aruba, among others.
Dammerman herself will oversee the recruitment and training of the new cabin crew. The presence of cabin crew also makes it possible to provide passengers on longer flights with a snack and a drink.
EZ Air over the past 2 years has invested considerable amounts in new operational systems, including a new Reservation system, a system for Online check-in and a module for Cargo Operations. In addition to passengers, EZ Air now also transports a considerable amount of freight.
The main financier of EZ Air is Pensioenfonds Caribisch Nederland (PCN), which loaned money to EZ Air through their investment company PMCN. PMCN-management, Walter Blijleven and Bharat Bhojwani, say the financing is managed to their satisfaction, even in the difficult Corona time. “A small miracle”, says Blijleven. “EZ Air, in spite of the Coronacrisis has found a way to generate the necessary business, despite the cancellation of many regular flights, with charters and cargo flights”. PMCN has been closely involved in discussions about the expansion with the new and bigger planes.
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