Grisha Steps in to Aid WINAIR Increase Flights to Curacao Amid JetAir Bankruptcy Impact | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Hundreds of passengers who were bound for St. Maarten are currently stranded in Curaçao, because of the unexpected bankruptcy of JetAir, which was to fly them to Princess Juliana International Airport.

There are also numerous travelers in St. Maarten eager to visit family and friends in Curaçao who have been affected by the demise of JetAir.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication, Grisha Heyliger-Marten swung into immediate action upon receiving information from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WINAIR regarding a critical situation affecting air travel between St. Maarten and Curaçao.

Heyliger-Marten right away reached out to Prime Minister Pisas and Minister Charles Cooper of Curaçao to seek their assistance in fast-tracking the necessary approval that would allow WINAIR to increase its flight frequency to Curacao with an additional four flights weekly.

The Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) had indicated that it would take at least one week before a decision could be taken on WINAIR’s application to increase its flight frequencies to Curacao.

This delay would compound the current void created by JetAir’s bankruptcy and would mean that the St. Maarten airline would not be able to increase its flights on this route until July 8 at the earliest.

WINAIR has been pressing for expedited approval due to the urgent need to address the travel disruption created by the failure of JetAir.

Many passengers who had bought tickets on JetAir, hoping to attend conferences and other events in St. Maarten, are finding it almost impossible to travel due to lack of airlift. The impact of this disruption extends even to the local economy, with a prominent resort already reporting a $20,000 loss in revenue for the week due to the interrupted travel plans.

Following her discussions with Minister Cooper, the latter agreed to temporarily allow the increase in WINAIR’s service to Curacao for two (2) to three (3) weeks. This decision will, in the meantime, enable WINAIR to operate the additional flights to Curaçao, thus alleviating the immediate travel issues until a permanent solution is reached.

According to Heyliger-Marten, the governments of St. Maarten and Curaçao are working closely to ensure a swift resolution of this matter, demonstrating a commitment to maintaining strong regional connectivity and supporting the needs of travelers and the economy of the islands.

Thanking Minister Heyliger-Marten for her prompt action in defense of WINAIR, the airline’s CEO, Hans van der Velde told her, “We will be able to change our schedule and facilitate four extra flights as per July 1, and possibly a few days before that date, if we get an answer today or tomorrow.”