PHILIPSBURG- St. Maarten based carrier WINAIR wants to incorporate bigger Dash-8 airplanes in their fleet which so far only exists of the De Havilland DHC-6 ‘Twinotter’.
The carrier wants to deploy the bigger 50-seater planes on the routes where use is now made of wet-leased Air Antilles planes.
“As we are aware WINAIR has been exploring ways to acquire larger aircraft affording WINAIR the opportunity to expand our operation in the north-west region. For the past 5/6 years WINAIR has been wet leasing aircraft from Air Antilles to service routes beyond the capability of our dry leased DHC-300’s(Otters)This has allowed WINAIR to serve many markets throughout the region building a solid foundation and gaining valuable insight into these markets”, according to an internal memo from WINAIR Management.
According to the memo, the carrier has been in negotiations with Avmax Air Craft Leasing company in Calgary Alberta Canada for several months to Dry Lease two Dash-8-300 aircraft with a capacity of 51 passengers. “WINAIR and Avmax are within weeks of signing a term sheet with Supervisory board Approval for two aircraft leased for a period of 3 years in WINAIR livery”.
According to the memo, the carriers hopes to incorporate the first Dash-8 around June of this year. The do note at the same time, that many things still have to fall in place. New pilots will have to be recruited, while training should also still take place in order to operate the aircraft.
It is not the first time that WINAIR makes an attempt to incorporate larger planes in their fleet. So far, the results have in general been quite devastating. Interesting is also the question of who will finance the expansion. WINAIR’s biggest shareholder, the Government of St. Maarten is said not to have the funds to provide WINAIR with more cash. The second shareholder, the Dutch Government, has indicated they want to sell their shares.
Only recently, WINAIR was making an appeal on Dutch Government to provide emergency loans to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.