Oranjestad- The airlift -or better said the lack thereof- between St. Eustatius and surrounding island was a hot item in Thursday’s island council meeting.
During the meeting questions were also raised about the financial support provided to Winair by the Dutch State. “I heard the transport manager say last week, that the loan agreement with Winair among other states that Winair is obligated to carry out at least two flights Statia- St. Maarten daily. I stand corrected but as far as I know they fly momentarily no more that 2 flights per week”, according to councilman Koos Sneek.
Sneek also noted that while he was in St. Maarten, he noticed that there were at least 10 daily flights to St. Barths. “And we all know that the route to St. Barths has always been higher on Winair’s priority list than the route to Statia. So, my question is: who is really benefitting from the loan”?
A motion presented by Sneek and Rechelline Leerdam (PLP) to achieve better and more airlift between St. Eustatius and surrounding islands received broad support from 4 out of the 5 island council members. Only Clyde van Putten voted against the motion.
The motion also calls on the Executive Council to ensure that the recommendations of the report by former KLM CEO Peter Hartman, to subsidize flights for BES-Residents would finally be put in motion.
While the plan has been laying at the I&W Ministery for far over a year, concrete action was never undertaken to implement the recommendations of the plan.