~ Paves way for Curaçao route ~
PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher designated Windward Islands Airways Winair as a national airline of St. Maarten on Thursday, paving the way for the company to service the St. Maarten-Curaçao route with PAWA Dominicana under an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) agreement.
The Minister signed the designation of Winair as a national carrier after the Civil Aviation Department, which falls under the TEATT Ministry, requested the Minister’s approval of the designation.
For Winair to be approved by the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority, the airline first had to be officially designated under the Multi-Lateral Protocol for the Liberalisation of Air Transport as a national carrier of St. Maarten.
The protocol is signed between the four partners within the Kingdom: St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and the Netherlands. It regulates transportation within the kingdom with provisions similar to those found in an air transport agreement.
The protocol regulates, among other things, the granting of rights, designations, tariffs, commercial opportunities, and safety and security. It allows Winair to transport passengers between two other countries if the flights have connections in its home base of St. Maarten.
The protocol is also the tool that allows Winair as a national airline to enter into code-share/block-space and wet-lease agreements with an airline from a third country, provided the airline holds the appropriate authority.
“I would like to wish Winair the best of luck and safe flying as the airline continues to spread its wings in servicing the people of St. Maarten and our regional neighbours. More airlift options to Caribbean destinations are always welcomed and the fact that we had the opportunity to tag a St. Maarten brand like Winair as a national brand is always something we can be proud of,” the Minister said on Sunday.