SINT MAARTEN/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Stuart Johnson delivered the following speech at the signing of the Air Transport Agreement between the King of the Netherlands, Sint Maarten and the Dominican Republic.
The speech reads as follows: “On behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, I am honoured to be here today for the signing of this Air Transport Agreement between the Kingdom of The Netherlands, as it pertains to Sint Maarten and the Dominican Republic for Air Transportation.
“This agreement is beneficial for both Countries, allowing more direct service by making it possible for our carriers to enter into Codeshare Interline or Lease agreements.
“Before the negotiation of this agreement in 2013, there were not any airlines from Sint Maarten and/or the Dominican Republic offering scheduled service between both Countries. Because of the negotiations and subsequent signing of the Agreed Minutes, the path forward was paved beginning with an agreement to be provisionally applied.
“’Winair, the national carrier of Sint Maarten commenced scheduled service to the Dominican Republic with aircraft that are Wet leased from an airline of a third country. This was a historic event because for the first time ever Winair was able to offer scheduled services to the Dominican Republic.
“The agreement made it possible for Winair to enter into Wet Lease agreements with airlines from the Dominican Republic and at the time Winair was Wet Leasing aircraft from PAWA on flights between the Dominican Republic, Curacao and Sint Maarten and Curacao. Unfortunately, PAWA is no longer operating.
“However, Air Century with four weekly flights and Sky High with its three weekly flights are providing service out of Isabella Las Americas International Airport.
“INTER CARIBBEAN will resume service in June.
“The increase in air service is testimony to the close relationship between both Countries, and most importantly it is a testament to the airlines’ commitment the many nationals of the Dominican Republic residing in Sint Maarten. It helps to maintain family relationships and makes it possible for leisure visitors to and from both countries.
“With the signing of this agreement, I hope that air service between our Countries continues to grow and further stimulate economic opportunities for Sint Maarten and the Dominican Republic. Thank you, and may God bless our countries and our people!”