Firmly planted

Firmly planted

The bankruptcy of JetAir (see related story) is the latest chapter in the history of troubled Curaçao-based carriers that includes ALM, DCA, DAE and InselAir. In such cases passengers are often stranded and have to make their own alternative travel arrangements, while others lose already-purchased tickets.

But the worst impact is obviously on personnel left jobless and some went to Fort Amsterdam looking for help from government. Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas came out and agreed to meet with a group of six today, Wednesday, to see how they can be assisted, but noted that with a trustee already appointed there is little to be done regarding their employer.

The story is strikingly familiar in the region’s civil aviation history. Other recent examples include PAWA of the Dominican Republic and – closer to home – LIAT.

There is talk of a restart for JetAir. However, that too has been tried unsuccessfully in the past, although Air Antilles appears ready to resume flights.

It may sound cruel because the company’s owners, management and staff no doubt did their best while servicing destinations among which St. Maarten, but for Winair the bankruptcy of JetAir means more traffic on its so-called ABC islands route. That is the harsh reality of competition in a cut-throat business.

However, what happened should also serve as reminder to the local carrier headquartered at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) to avoid overstretching and tread with caution especially when taking on financial obligations. It may sound paradoxical for an airline, but they need to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground.

The Daily Herald

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