DAE unable to convince airport

POSTED: 08/6/13 1:35 PM

Passengers advised to contact airline directly for information

St. Maarten – Crucial talks between the Princess Juliana international Airport operating company, PJAIE N.V. and Dutch Antilles Express B.V. (DAE) broke down yesterday afternoon when DAE’s Planning Director, Steven Sloop  went back on the proposal it submitted to the airport just last week.

The deal breaker was the amount DAE could honestly commit to paying monthly in settlement of its large outstanding with the airport. Sloop, asking the airport negotiating team to “trust him”, was unable to convince members that DAE could be held to any of its own previous proposals.

Sloop acknowledged that DAE has been in arrears with the airport dating back to 2010. He attributed most of the company’s financial woes to the airline losing service to Venezuela. According to Sloop, Venezuela represented 70% of the airline’s business and DAE was very heavily dependent upon this market. However, he failed to give any clear picture of DAE’s financial projections.

“It’s unfortunate and rather disappointing that DAE could not even stick to its own previous proposals,” PJIAE N.V. Managing Director, Regina Labega stated. “We have been more than lenient and accommodating and it has come to the point where we have to think about our own responsibilities to our investors and Shareholder.”

“This is a situation that has been ongoing for too long and cannot be allowed to continue. We would love to see DAE continue using our facilities, however, if the airline cannot meet its financial obligations with us, then it is obvious that it has other plans,” she added.

Labega said she does not know for certain what these plans may be, however, she advised all passengers holding DAE tickets to contact the airline or its representatives directly to find out what they should do.

“DAE is directly responsible for them, not the airport, and they should therefore seek further information from the airline,” she added.

It will be recalled that the airport offered the usual airport services to DAE on Sunday and yesterday out of consideration for the plight of passengers. Those flights were considered “evacuation flights”. Sloop confirmed at the talks that there were no stranded DAE passengers left.

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