Letter: The ongoing saga of AVA Airways

Dear Editor,

So, I read Olivier Arrindell’s story in the media over the weekend and as late as Monday, June 13, 2016. In it, he announces that AVA Airways received a business economic permit. I checked and found out that what he got was Government approval to establish an NV (or BV). Contrary to WINAIR and INSEL AIR, he does not have an Economic Licence, or an Airline Operators Certificate (AOC).

Arrindell claims to have been in the airline business for almost 10 years and says he has the know-how on how to take commercial aviation in St. Maarten into a bold new direction and how to be innovative. I have a few questions: where exactly was Arrindell in the aviation business? What was Arrindell’s function(s) in the airline business? Was he part of management or just an employee? What type of aircraft did the airline he was associated with utilize? What part of the Latin American market, as it relates to destination St. Maarten/St. Martin, does he think he has more (or better) knowledge of than some of the big airlines that presently fly in and out of South America, one of which is COPA AIRLINES that services St. Maarten?

Then this: why is it that whenever Arrindell wants to say something about his hallucination airline AVA Airways, does he always seem to have the need to bash WINAIR and/or INSEL AIR (with erroneous information, I might add)? Can he not just “do his AVA thing” and leave these two airlines (which actually fly, have airplanes, employees, routes and oh, yes, Airline Operators Certificates) alone?

Arrindell is claiming to know how airlines need to expand borders not be stuck in time, and how to be innovative in order to survive. His AVA Airways, however, has yet to start up let alone survive! When will we be able to see, touch and feel AVA’s first A320 jetliner (NEO or not)? And, can Arrindell tell us exactly what he means with AVA’s proposed operations on “an East–West hub”? Is AVA planning to fly East out of St. Maarten to the only destinations in that direction, which after Antigua & Barbuda are countries like Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries on the African continent; and, West out of St. Maarten to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Mexico and other Central American countries?

Since he seems not to be interested in the traditional North American market, is it his intention to fill his Airbuses with tourists from these destinations to the East and West of St. Maarten? Or, maybe offer the St. Maarten tourist great airfares to the abovementioned destinations?

Being a local businessman myself, I fully support the establishment of other local businesses, but I am very wary of smoke and mirrors. While I do not pretend to know much, I know enough about the airline business to confirm that to operate any Airbus aircraft, jet fuel is needed. Hot air is only useful when one operates balloons.

Michael J. Ferrier

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/58123-the-ongoing-saga-of-ava-airways