The Government of Curaçao, backed by a unanimous motion from Parliament, agreed to financially assist cash-strapped InselAir (see related story). It regards a private business, but the airline’s social-economic impact is considered just too big to allow its demise.

About 600 direct and 900 indirect jobs were said to be at stake, while InselAir provides 25 per cent of the island’s stay-over tourists and generates 5 to 10 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Moreover, without the carrier there would be no air connection with St. Maarten and traffic to Bonaire would be reduced by 80 per cent.

Management had already announced a restructuring process that included the layoff of nearly 100 employees, but a “Committee of Wise Heads” instituted by the Council of Ministers to look into the matter believed this was not enough. An interim-manager is now to run the company based on a Stability Plan supervised by Government, with the current directors to refrain from taking major decisions during the transition period.

Considering the huge interests involved the move is understandable, also because InselAir has almost US $100 million from ticket sales in bolivars stuck at Venezuela’s foreign exchange agency Cadivi. Despite many efforts the carrier has not been able to access these funds and in light of the neighbouring South American country’s ongoing crisis this may not change any time soon.

If one can blame those in charge for something, it might be that they continued flying to Venezuela and accepting payments in bolivars far too long, even though getting the dollars out was already a problem. The saying “don’t throw good money after bad” comes to mind.

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