Reader’s Opinion: Winair

POSTED: 02/15/13 1:49 PM

Before 10/10/10 Winair was owned for 100% by the government of the former Netherlands Antilles. Airfares to and from Saba and St. Eustatius were dictated by the shareholder and promised subsidies were few and far between. Effective October 10, 2010, St. Maarten and the Netherlands became co-owners of Winair and within months persons representing the new shareholders’ representatives, as well as new supervisory board members were installed. At the same time a new management team was installed with marching orders: “make the airline operationally profitable on the strength of its commercial viability and do not expect any subsidies from either one of the new shareholders.”
That is exactly what has been done and where the airline is headed. The Netherlands’ government has very much been involved in this exercise to date and we respectfully suggest that Minister Plasterk might contact his government’s very able and active shareholder representative’s office and/or their (also extremely active and knowledgeable) representative on the Winair supervisory board of directors to be properly updated.

As an aside re medical emergency evacuations (Medivacs) out of the two BES islands: Winair has for 50 years successfully flown Medivac flights out of Saba and St. Eustatius on an as-need basis with no loss of life. Since the Netherlands took over the responsibilities of the former Netherlands Antilles Government as they relate to Saba and St. Eustatius, Winair has been instructed that it can no longer execute Medivac flights out of the two islands, as it is not registered as, nor equipped to be an official air ambulance company. Winair continues to be willing and able to resume the above mentioned Medivac flight services on a flight charter basis whenever requested to do so.

Respectfully,

Michael J. Ferrier,
Winair advisor.

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