Down With National Carriers!
The continuing story of KLM's West-Indisch Bedrijf after it was taken over by the Antillean government as ALM Antillean Airlines, changed to DCA Dutch Caribbean Airlines, finally bankrupted before another change to Curaçao Air Lines. The struggle that followed for control of the market.
Curaçao Hato Airport
After the judge's december verdict that InselAir does have a license for the CUR-SXM route, DAE changed course and appealed, after first announcing they would not. This time their main argument is capacity on the route is 55,000 seats/year, but combined with InselAir capacity is 157,000 seats. DAE's argument is the government is obliged to prevent over-capacity.
Contrariwise, InselAir claims DAE has no license for the planned CUR-Paramaribo/Suriname route. DAE lost their appeal in April.
DAE and InselAir once more went into the clinch because KLM isguaranteeing DAE's lossesfor $5M. This does square with what's known about KLM's business tactics and initially was not denied by van Pallandt. Insel's director Heerenveen claims DAE's van Pallandt has threatened tobreak InselAir[kapot maken]. Later, KLM and DAE both denied the $5M allegation.
Minister Leeflang, who has replaced her MAN colleague Gijsbertha since the last government crisis, liberates the Antillean market, just stipulating that prices may not be lower than cost price (rather arbitrarily set at fuel cost), and that safety and service schedules must remain on their present levels. Gijsbertha (who has taken out billboard pre-election advertising showing him with an InselAir aircraft in the background) protests against this, but Leeflang reminds him he was all for KLM's support of DAE when he still was a minister, end 2006.
(January 2007) Hato airport has started a case against Curaçao Airlines Association (AA, DAE,KLM) who refuse to pay the higher tariffs CAP charges since moving to the new terminal in August 2007.
Ex ALM pilots are sueing Mario Evertsz, Maria Liberia Peters and FOL's Renfred Rojer
for ANG10.5M in pension premium that has not been paid by ALM from 1997-2004.
They hold these three, and 16 more, personally responsible.
Half of the old DCA/ALM hangar on Hato airport will be rented by DAE, until their own newly built hangar is ready. The other half is occupied by InselAir, who only wished to rent it on condition Hato/CAP would not rent the other half to 'another company'. When CAP refused this, InselAir rented it anyway. DAE states that, when they don't need it any more, InselAir is welcome to DAE's half of the hangar.
Next thing, InselAir started complaining that the minimum-tariffs set by Leeflang were too low. Remarkably, this was while DAE charged ANG491 for a round-trip CUR-SXM and InselAir ANG360 with a second ticket thrown in for half price. With the introduction of their first F100, DAE reduced the price to ANG200/round trip. InselAir started protesting immediately that this was market dumping by flying below cost price. DAE, after having been forbidden to do this, continued offering the tickets for that price anyway, arguing that, as long as all tickets together covered costs, they could offer any particular ticket for any price they wished. When minister Leeflang threatened to stop DAE's flying operations, they raised their price to InselAir's ANG270, protesting their operation is more efficient than their competitor's and investigating if Leeflang is not transgressing her authority.
Next thing, InselAir shareholders started releasing funds to pay for the cheap ANG270 tickets, becausethese are sold below actual costs.(Yes, it's a quote.)
A minor war has broken out between the companies, InselAir photographing and publishing allegedly illegal acts of DAE in the shared hangar. The airport (CAP) started investigating.
After a work visit to Suriname, minister Leeflang decided to give SLM and InselAir a monopoly on the CUR-PBM (Paramaribo) line until 2008,because InselAir had their MD83 before DAE got the Fokker F100and the two companies should havea chance to get established in the market. SLM has been flying the route for decennia already, and they are hanging on by the skin of their fingernails. One wonders for DAE's reaction: Yet another court case?
http://www.skeptictank.org/gen3/gen02059.htm">just as well.)
Start-up Trinidad & Tobago company Constellation announces two weekly flights Trinida-Panamá with a stop in CUR, starting end of June, but is reported not to get a Trinidad license before September.
DAE and American Airlines are sueing Hato Airport (CAP) once again. They do not want to use the CUTE check-in system, as CAP wants them to. It's a complete mystery why CAP bought it (it would be slander to suggest somebody made some extra pocket money there.) The funny part is, when you have an e-ticket, you just board and AA (or KLM) do not have to go CUTE. According to DAE, total airport charges come out higher than the cost of a bare ticket CUR-AUA.
DAE lost the case for now, but there still is another one running.
DAE has moved out of June the hangar they shared with InselAir and prefers to do maintenance out in the open, claiming the building is structurally unsound and a wall can collapsejust like that.
FOL minister Adriaens announces a minimum tariff of ANG350 for CUR-SXM v.v.; maximum (only valid when there's a monopoly situation) 500, only 30 over the former minimum price. Remarkably, DAE and InselAir are less than enthusiastic, the latter declaring this isbelow cost price.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf announces, to nobody's surprise, that the downfall of Exel was caused by mismanagement. New here, but not surprising either, is that KLM and Exel had an agreement on price structure, with Exel charging €100 less than KLM; and that Exel's Erik de Vlieger was 'offered' Martinair by KLM.
After many complaints, island government finally decides to start an investigation in how far CAP (read: Alterra) have conformed to their contractual requirements.
DAE announces closer cooperation with WinAir, less than a year after InselAir mentioned WinAir as a partner in thePan-Caribbean Alliance. It seems DAE-owner (a partner in Bonair Exel) Niek Sandmann did pay ANG1.4M for WinAir shares, and now is suing as he never got them. But St. Maarten minister Duncan denies Sandmann will get the shares; he will be paid back instead.
Aruba - In an interview with Aruba business magazine Nos Florin ex AUA airport director Michael Nicolaas came out with the opinion that Aruba needed a national carrier to develop the Reina Beatrix airport. After the ~100M florin Air Aruba disaster, what can you say?
In March, Tiara Air was grounded by Aruba authorities; not for aircraft safety, but because of 'administration and personnel reasons. The company must conform to international standards.' As it turned out when, a month later, Tiara got a renewed license,there had been irregularities in maintenance administration.But Tiara claims maintenance has always been optimal; you wonder how, in that case, they can know that. Tiara is now looking at a cooperation with 'a South-American company'.