WILLEMSTAD – Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath of Economic Development and Minister Suzy Camelia-Römer of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning met with their Dutch counterpart Minister Ronald Plasterk of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Junior Minister Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment last week.
The talks were dominated by the recent developments in the aviation sector in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The Curaçao Ministers spoke about the economic and social impact that a possible failure of the (inter-island) air services would have on the communities in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and how Curaçao is addressing this impending negative situation.
At the same time, the Curaçao government stressed the importance of the air connection between the islands in the context of public administration, judiciary, military, Coast Guard and patient transport. On this basis, the Curaçao government decided, under very strict conditions, to create a line of credit for InselAir to prevent an imminent failure of the air connections.
Curaçao stresses that InselAir, based on the idea of safety first, has been under the surveillance of the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority since August 2016. The additional inspections currently carried out on the initiative of Minister Camelia-Römer together with the Dutch Inspectorate for Environment and Transport at InselAir fit into this approach.
Visit1The Dutch and Curaçao Ministers have recognized the importance of continuity, reliability and safety of the inter-island air links. They have concluded that it is important to keep all parties informed on the progress and outcomes. It was also agreed that countries, despite their own responsibilities in this area, will work together to address the challenges in the field of aviation. Telephone consultation with the Governments of Aruba and St. Maarten led to agreements within the entire Kingdom.
In this context, it was agreed that the Protocol on cooperation in the field of civil aviation will be renewed as soon as possible. The implementation should begin immediately thereafter. This protocol complements the desired cooperation in the field of civil aviation and thus creates the framework for further cooperation.
In anticipation of the renewal of the Protocol, a joint expert group will be established in which all countries in the Kingdom are represented. This group focuses on the connectivity between the islands. The starting point is, for the public interest, to ensure the connections between the islands in a safe and reliable way. The expert group will work out different scenarios and look at the financial, legal, economic and social aspects. This should lead to a review of alternatives, including advantages and disadvantages.
Curaçao and the Netherlands have also agreed that the results of the inspection of InselAir, currently under the responsibility of the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority and being carried out with the support of the Dutch Inspectorate for Environment and Transport, will be jointly communicated upon completion. Also, the recommendations will be jointly addressed if possible.
Ministers Camelia-Römer and Rhuggenaath are satisfied with this result. They emphasize that because of the Curaçao initiative, there is now a framework on Kingdom level which looks at aviation and air connections. This framework supports the actions taken by Curaçao in the field of safety and the maintenance of key air connections.