AVA Airways representatives meet with St. Maarten Civil AviationPOSTED: 03/18/15 7:09 PM
GREATBAY – “St. Maarten needs airlift. The island cannot be dependent upon North American traffic anymore…” This is according to Olivier Arrindell, Chairman of AVA Airways.
Recently Arrindell and The President of AVA Airways Giovanni Atalita presented AVA Airways plans to the Ministry of Transportation, Civil Aviation and Economic Development, “One of our main objectives is to learn from the past and to propose a bold new direction for commercial aviation in St. Maarten. St. Maarten’s economic situation needs this at the moment. St. Maarten’s only local airline, Winair is going through some financial tough times. This doesn’t give much hope for the airlift and the economy of the island,” Arrindell stated.
“Right now, the fastest growing market for St. Maarten and the Caribbean is Latin America and it’s mostly premium traffic. Meaning, Latin America does consist of more countries and not only Panama. I understand that St. Maarten has a historical connection with North America, but right now it’s time to expand our borders. There are other markets out there,” Arrindell indicated.
Olivier Arrindell has been in the aviation business for almost a decade now. He said that one of the things he always sees is that aviation companies in St. Maarten do not focus on new ideas. “It feels like the airlines, especially in St. Maarten are stuck in time. “They tend to follow the same ideas that others have done in the past. This does not work anymore. You have to be innovative. This is the only way you will survive now,” Arrindell said. The tourism sector on the island is complaining. How is St. Maarten going to survive with a low rate of overnight tourism! Hotels will not survive. I really hope that the government is doing something about this. When we presented our plans, the Secretary General Miguel de Weever along with the Director General of Civil Aviation Louis Halley, who is responsible for the aviation sector, expressed that the idea of AVA Airways turning St. Maarten into an East West hub is an ideal concept for island.
AVA Airways will start its operations with the A319/A320 aircraft types. The Airbus A320neo family is a family of aircraft under development by Airbus replacing the predecessor A320 family (now A320ceo (current engine option).The letters “neo” stand for “New Engine Option” and are the last step of the modernization program A320 Enhanced (or “A320E”) which was started in 2006.
According to Arrindell this type of aircraft fits perfect into AVA’s operations on an East West hub.
“AVA Airways will be a pioneer in Latin America and the Caribbean. From the way we sell our tickets to the services we offer on our aircrafts, to even which type of aircraft we will use, will be completely innovative, especially for an island like Curacao,” said the airline chairman.