WILLEMSTAD – Insel Air has received financial support from the government of Curacao for the past six months, Dick Drayer reports on Caribisch Netwerk. Outgoing Minister of Economic Affairs Eugène Rhuggenaath confirmed this. The ailing airline is not only living on credit from the development bank Korpodeko, but also on agreements that have been made through the Ministry of Finance with the tax inspectorate.
This weekend Insel Air approached the government again. The airline has no more cash to execute its operations and to pay salaries including premiums and insurances. According to Insel Air, there is $100 million stuck in Venezuela.
The Council of Ministers has appointed a council of wise men chaired by former Prime Minister Etienne Ys to facilitate the search for a strategic partner for Insel Air and to find solutions for the company’s financial problems in the short term.
“In its current state, Insel Air is not solid and it has also become too big to fail,” Rhuggenaath says. “The government will not become an aviation carrier but Curacao cannot afford that this company goes down. Insel Air has become too important for our economy, our employment and our accessibility for that.”
The government has to remain aloof, Rhuggenaath says but it is necessary to find a solution to make sure that the fiscal debts Insel Air is currently making do not become larger.
The question whether government support is acceptable is obsolete according to the minister. “The focus of the Ys-committee must not just be on a short term solution for Insel Air’s cash flow problems but first and foremost: how can that support be a solution for the long term.”
Photo caption: An Insel Air plane at Flamingo Airport in Bonaire. Photo Caribisch Netwerk / Dick Drayer