RIJSWIJK–The decision of tour operator TUI to cease flights to St. Maarten per November does not mean that the destination is completely off the radar. TUI fly Belgium starts flying from Brussels late October, while TUI fly Netherlands will keep selling holiday packages to St. Maarten.
Last week, TUI Netherlands announced it had reached an agreement with Royal Dutch Airlines KLM to increase cooperation. As a result of this agreement, TUI fly Netherlands will terminate its twice weekly Amsterdam-St. Maarten-Curaçao-Amsterdam flight with the 787-8 Boeing Dreamliner per November 1, 2017.
TUI will transfer its St. Maarten passengers to KLM, which executes direct flights to and from Amsterdam four times a week per November 2, 2017. Currently, KLM has three flights using an A330-200. KLM’s sister company Air France has daily, direct flights to St. Maarten from Paris.
The reason for ceasing the TUI Fly Netherlands flight to St. Maarten was not due to disappointing travel volumes. “It isn’t that St. Maarten wasn’t selling well. To the contrary, we are very happy with this destination. Especially the sale of holiday packages to the island is doing well,” a spokesperson for TUI told The Daily Herald over the weekend.
TUI will stop selling the “ticket only” segment to St. Maarten, and instead focus on the popular holiday packages. “Those vacations will remain just as economical in price, while we can now offer our clients four non-stop flights per November 1. That means more flexibility than the two combined flights that we now offer per week. This will enable further growth of the number of clients to St. Maarten,” said the spokesperson.
St. Maarten will still see a TUI 787-8 Boeing Dreamliner land, but this will be the TUI fly Belgium flight from Brussels. TUI fly Belgium will operate a weekly flight from Brussels to St. Maarten this winter season.
The Brussels-St. Maarten route will start per October 30, and for now has been planned for the entire winter season until April 9, 2018. It concerns a once-a-week flight on Monday, and will be combined with a stop-over in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/66168-st-maarten-stays-on-tui-s-radar