Curaçao Island


Down With National Carriers!


The continuing story of KLM's West-Indisch Bedrijf after it was taken over by the Antillean government as ALM Antillean Airlines, changed to DCA Dutch Caribbean Airlines, finally bankrupted before another change to Curaçao Air Lines.
The struggle that followed for control of the market.

Curaçao Hato Airport

The Story Continues...

January 2005
After an inaugural service for christmas 2004, I-Jet has started 2 flights weekly MIA-Haïti-CUR (introduction price of return ticket ANG400), while Surinam Airlines was licensed to fleight freight between Paramaribo-CUR-MIA.
Exel announced they would start a regional company with KLM, who have not confirmed this. This will not affect the Dutch Caribbean Exel flights CUR-AMS which will be continued. In the last week of January, KLM announced a decision would be made before April 2005.

February 2005
Exel is in serious trouble because of the bad publicity around their Dutch and Antillean managers. BWIA is still not flying on Curaçao. NEA announce they are still serious with their plans.
American Sales & Management starts personal proceedings against three former ALM managers, three deputies and the eilandgebied (island government) for 800K DCA still owes them. Total outstanding DCA debts are ANG40M; AS&M offers ground services in Miami. Sick 'em, AS&M!

March 2005
Airbus Industries announces future opening of an aircraft service center at Curaçao Hato airport as a regional alternative to Boeing.
KLM will resume catering at Hato and is still wheeling and dealing behind the screens, in what may be a power in-fight with Air France, who make much less money but offer much better deals on their Caribbean connections. An economic licence is granted to TCA. Licenses are applied for by tentatively called Air Curaçao, set up by supermarket owner Goisco. After earlier talk of three-four months, they now say they will start operating within a year.

April 2005
After having touched down at Hato twice weekly for less than four months, BWIA cancelled the official inaugural flight of April 17 and then stopped the entire operation. (So much for Asjes.)
DutchCaribbeanExel has gone bankrupt and HollandExel is expected to follow soon. DCExel's flights are taken over by ArkeFly Curaçao, owned by TUI Nederland. No cooperation as yet with BonairExpress, nor between BE and KLM.
DCA's last assets are auctioned off, mainly office inventory; also suitcases still carrying the ALM logo.

May 2005
Negotations with Continental for Saturday flights Newark-CUR v.v. Aircraft Boeing 737, 134 seats. Continental wants a guarantee of 60% occupied seats which it will get.
KLM reopens old ALM catering building on Hato airport, for catering of KLM flights.

June 2005
Curaçao Airways gets economic license to start operating; the fifth in a range of companies who are in the process of applying for a full license: Trans Caribbean Airways, PIAS International, Insel Air, and a local group from St. Maarten.

July 2005
With his usual chutzpah, Deputy Asjes quotes some figures from CTB tourist board, which are as such highly doubtable considering the source, concluding that the demise of DCA has resulted in a drop in tourism. This drop, incidentally, is not unique to Curaçao for the period. Asjes says, QUOTE We have to be realistic UNQUOTE and start a new airline - with government money.
A deal is made with Continental for Saturday flights Newark-Curaçao with a government guarantee. In the general framework of open government and transparency Curaçao style, we are not informed what it will actually cost us to guarantee 60% occupancy.

August 2005
Minister Omayra Leeflang declares now there are five companies in the process of applying for flight permits, without naming them. One of those is Atlantic Airlines. If Deputy Asjes wants to go through with his new airline, it will have to answer to the same conditions as the other ones, stipulated by national law. And if he feels that this is not satisfactory, he can always go to court, she adds. (Asjes' PLKP party is threatening to go to the United Nations instead.)
Alterra suddenly announces they want to sell their shares in Curaçao Airport Partners. They must be looking for another green pasture to graze bare.
KLM announces BonairExel will change name and face by next month. So they were involved all the time.

September 2005
The new name of BonairExel and all companies in its wake will be Dutch Antilles Express. Livery is a sober grey (leaving blank?) A tail logo is still in the works.
Iraq-born sheik Hussain Al Khawam, living in Jordania, has started AeroLinea Internacional di Aruba (ALIA). Flights from Aruba to Punto Fijo, Las Piedras, Caracas, Maracaibo, Curaçao and Bonaire using two second-hand Embraer Brasilia 120s. Later planned extensions are flights to Miami, Boston and Newark, plus possibly routes to Bogota, Medellin and Amsterdam using Boeing 767-ER bought from Qantas Australia. No dates are mentioned as yet. (Nothing more heard about this by March 2006.)
SLM will start flying PBM (Paramaribo) -CUR-MIA twice weekly as from October 2005, with a temporary 6 month licence; Atlantic Airlines and Air Curaçao are expected to start operating by half 2006. Minister Leeflang hopes this will result in lower prices.

October 2005
A delegation of Atlantic Air visits Curaçao to speed up negotiations.
Contrary to Leeflangs statements, it is now announced that S.L.M. will start more flights between CUR and Haïti/Santo Domingo in November, with no more news on the promised CUR-MIA flights supposed to be starting this month.
Plans were announced to warrant the guilty ones in the DCA affair from their liabilities. After first trying to keep this, nice and cozy, out of the public eye Curaçao government (bestuurscollege) will now have a public meeting where they intend to decide the Curaçao people will have to pay for the entire criminal mess.

November 2005
Minister Leeflang has agreed Atlantic Air can apply for all necessary licenses at once without going from one step to the next. But this is crossed by Directie Luchtvaart which is acting up; reportedly because this is run by FOL who, together with PLKP, want to go back to a Curaçao national airline. Atlantic may start cooperation with InselAir that does have an economic license; otherwise, they may retire from the game.
InselAir announces that they are quite ready now to start inter-island operations with a 19 passenger Embraer Bandeirantes prop jet. It only rests for the aircraft to be certificated now by the Directie Luchtvaart. Heerenveen states negotiations with Atlantic Air may result in regional Boeing 737 flights starting almost immediately.
In the first 6 months of 2005, 4 airline licenses have been granted.

the story continues:

what went on before:


West Indian Division

Antilliaanse Luchtvaart Maatschappij

Dutch Caribbean Airlines

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