Extra TUI Bonaire flight at St. Maarten’s expense

The sight of a landing TUI fly Netherlands Dreamliner 787-8  at Mullet Bay Beach will no longer be per November 1, 2017. (Suzanne Koelega photo)

RIJSWIJK–Airline TUI fly Netherlands will be increasing the number of flights from Amsterdam to Bonaire from three to four per week starting November 1, 2017, at which time the flights to St. Maarten will be ceased. Mid-May 2017, TUI Netherlands announced that as part of an agreement that it had reached with Royal Dutch Airlines KLM to increase cooperation, TUI fly Netherlands would terminate its twice weekly Amsterdam-St. Maarten-Curaçao-Amsterdam flight with the 787-8 Boeing Dreamliner per November 1, 2017. The agreement between the two airlines entailed that TUI would transfer its St. Maarten passengers to KLM, which will be executing four weekly direct flights to and from Amsterdam per November 2, 2017, up from the current three per week. KLM uses an Airbus A330 for this route.

  The deal would free up space for more TUI fly Netherlands flights to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Bonaire has gained much popularity among Dutch vacationers. TUI booking figures this year showed a 15 percent increase in the sale of holiday packages to Bonaire compared to the same period in 2016.

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  Due to the popularity of this destination, it was decided to expand the number of hotels that are offered in the holiday packages and to carry out an additional flight this winter. Two new accommodations have been added: Resort Bonaire of the Dutch company Europarcs which opens on December 1 in Belnem and the bed and breakfast lodgings BnBBonaire in Kralendijk.

  The increased popularity was confirmed by the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) which recently reported an 8 per cent increase of arriving flights from Europe and North-America in the first half of 2017 compared to last year. Diving, eco-tourism, the climate and tranquillity are cited as the main reasons why vacationers love to come to Bonaire.     

  Per November 1, TUI fly Netherlands will execute flights from Schiphol Airport to Bonaire’s Flamingo Airport on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, using the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, and in combination with Aruba and Curaçao.

  In total, TUI fly Netherlands will execute nine flights per week to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The latter island will see more non-stop flights. Unfortunately for St. Maarten, the twice weekly flights, on Wednesday and Sunday, will be ceased.

  TUI fly Netherlands started its operations to St. Maarten in October 2015. Though the sale figures for St. Maarten were not bad, according to TUI, it was still decided to focus more on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, and to transfer the St. Maarten market to KLM.

  This means that the Air France-KLM Group will regain its monopoly on the Amsterdam-St. Maarten route. TUI Netherlands will keep selling holiday packages to St. Maarten, while TUI fly Belgium will start flying from Brussels to St. Maarten late October. It concerns a once-a-week flight for the upcoming winter season, in combination with Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

  Meanwhile KLM announced that it has Cees Ursem as the new Country Manager for the Dutch Caribbean. Ursem, who has been working in different functions for KLM for the past 29 years, will replace Pieter de Man who will be transferred to Canada for Air France-KLM.  

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68382-extra-tui-bonaire-flight-at-st-maarten-s-expense

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