POND ISLAND – Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Cornelius de Weever, says he welcomes the news about an agreement that has been signed this week between the Netherlands and Winair that would establish a direct air link between Bonaire and the Windward Islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and Sint Maarten. The first flight under the banner CN-Express is scheduled for February 26.
“Air transportation links between the Caribbean Netherlands islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire and country Sint Maarten are essential when it comes to economic development (tourists), air transportation for family and friends, health (medical care/referrals) etc. and is in line with the important hub function that Sint Maarten performs.
“The Princess Juliana International Airport remains a hub for the North Eastern Caribbean. SXM Airport in January started off with a series of meetings, the first one with our sister island of Anguilla to share information about current rebuilding efforts.
“This is all part of our country’s hub function for the surrounding islands. It is the intention of SXM Airport to meet with hub partners such as St. Martin (French), Saba, St. Eustatius, Nevis, St. Kitts and Dominica.
“The relations with our neighbors to the North (St. Martin) and the surrounding islands are all part of the efforts of to make sure that our country while in the recovery mode meets the demands of our hub partners going forward,” Acting Minister of TEATT Cornelius de Weever said on Thursday.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the Netherlands was the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
The flights will take place every Monday and Friday for a period of three months. After six weeks, the CN-Express will be evaluated whether it meets the needs of the islands.
An ATR42 aircraft from Air Antilles will be used to fly the new route. This 48-seat aircraft will fly between Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius and Bonaire.
A Winair Twin Otter feeder is then used to connect Saba with St. Eustatius.