photo: Esther Henry

THE BOTTOM – After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Saba and St. Eustatius developed urgency for air transportation to regain the tourism sector, medical referrals and work traffic. Winair has now ended the agreement of the CN-Express, direct flight between Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, due to financial obligations.

This connection between the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands would originally be operational early January.

Winair’s facilities were completely destroyed, causing the need for a new facility to enable Winair to firstly serve its customers by opening a new sales and reservations office conveniently located on the Pond Fill.

In addition Winair leased the second floor of this building to enable their accounting and HR a venue from which to operate out of. “Customer and vendors reception has truly been positive”, stated Mr. M.D. Cleaver, CEO & President of Winair.

Financial and operational problems
The CN-express has experienced delays due to financial and operational issues. Although there initially was a principle agreement between parties, Winair backed out of the agreement, which made it impossible to realize the air connection.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Winair and their partners in The Hague, they were unable to achieve a workable plan to accommodate and facilitate the CN Express operation, according to Winair. Their current operational and financial situation post Irma/ Maria preclude Winair from avoidable risks at this time.

The ministries are now looking at possible other solutions.