MELVILLE HALL, Dominica – Heavy rains have resulted in the Melville Hall River adjacent to Dominica’s Douglas-Charles Airport overflowing its banks.
Seaborne Airlines cancelled its Monday afternoon flight to the island and again cancelled its Tuesday morning service because of the heavy rains.
In August last year flooding and landslides as a result of Tropical Storm Erika killed at least 20 people in Dominica and left several others missing. The Douglas-Charles Airport and hundreds of homes were destroyed.
Total damage from Erika stood at more than US$500 million, with US$482.8 million in Dominica alone.
Heavy rains have been lashing the north and northeast of the island for the past several hours.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados has announced a 12-month prohibition on the importation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.
It said that the new measure comes into effect from April 1.
The Customs & Excise Department said the ban would allow the authorities to complete a legal framework to govern the use of these devices and determine the number in operation in Barbados.
A spokesperson for the Customs & Excise Department said that during the last two years in particular, there had been a significant increase in the number of RPAS for commercial and recreational use being allowed entry into the country.
“This has contributed to the unregulated growth of drones and the inability of the regulatory authorities to ascertain the numbers in operation,” the spokesperson said.
Despite the positive use of drones, the official stated, concerns had been raised here and internationally about the potential for their misuse and the risks posed to safety, security and privacy by their unregulated use.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Today March 8, 2016 members representing the new St. Maarten airline company, AVA SXM B.V. finalized on its company incorporation and sign off on all legal documentation at the Notary office of Tjon Ajong & Associates.
During this visit, AVA’s Vice President and Chairman, Mr. Olivier Arrindell review the company bylaws and give the notary an extended explanation on AVA’s establishment and aviation plans.
Ava SXM B.V. sister company to AVA Curacao B.V. which wasorganized at the end of 2013 as a new aviation company in Curacao find its self in difficulties in Curacao with PNP Ministers. When ask Mr. Arrindell on why Ava St. Maarten and why now, Mr. Arrindell indicated that AVA SXM B.V. has always been part of the airline triangle business model.
Ava Curacao is still moving forward and now in the hands of Attorneys. Through their lawyer Chester Peterson’s, the legal representatives of AVA Curacao B.V. are appealing the decision of the Minister of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning, Mrs. Suzanne Camelia- Römer (“PNP”) in Curacao. The Minister did not approve their request for an economic permit to start the operations of the airline. This is according to the representatives of the airline.
According to AVA Curacao B.V., despite several requests, the Minister still did not give them the documents in which her decision is substantiated. This proves, according to Peterson, that the Minister has no reasonable grounds to reject AVA’s request for the economic permit and that she has something to hide.
Ava SXM B.V. is part of AVA Airways Jamaica, Ava Haiti S.A. and Ava Brazil S.A
AVA’s objectiveis to create an aviation company which addsvalue to the Caribbean and Latin America air transport for St. Maarten and Curacao by contributing to the economy of the islands. Most important is to create safe, reliable along with additional airlift and more jobs creation for the islands. St. Maarten right now is suffering from a 53% unemployment rate among the youth whereby in Curacao its 42%. This is a very sad state to be in, St. Maarten and Curacao share one Central Bank and one centralized economy.
AVA SXM B.V.willmakeuseof the existing aviation laws, but also the new bilateral agreements signed by St. Maarten to create new routes and connect St. Maarten with other destinations directly in turn will create jobs.
AVA’s confidence in establishing in St. Maarten comes from the positive attribute the island offers not only through its diversity of languages, its geographical position in the Caribbean, the open sky policy, aviation treaties but also St. Maarten’s commitment to reach FAA’s category 1 again. Its time for us to create a new industry, the Aviation Industry of St. Maarten. The President of the AVA SXM B.V. Has already be selected however due to confidentiality agreement sign the identity of the person cannot be disclose at this moment however what I can say is that the person is from St. Maarten.
AVA has plans to turned in its documents to the St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authorities, which has to work on theeconomic Authority (“economic permit”) and the operation permits (“AOC”).
SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - St. Maarten continues to be a much sought after market. There’s significant interest in the destination.
This sums up the reaction of particularly major US airlines during one-on-one meetings with the SXM Airport delegation to the recently concluded Routes Americas conference in San Juan Puerto Rico.
The SXM Airport delegation was led by Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Larry Donker, Acting Director, Operations Division, Mr. Michel Hyman and Manager, Marketing & Customer Services Ms. Suzy Kartokromo.
US carriers, Delta and JetBlue said they were happy with their mainland services and the 2015 Load Factors. Delta offers flights to SXM from Atlanta, Minneapolis (during the high season) and New York (JFK), while JetBlue flies here from Boston and New York (JFK). No changes are expected in these routes for both airlines in 2016.
Low cost carrier Spirit advised that its current weekly service from Fort Lauderdale is performing to their satisfaction.
“While carriers were overall very pleased with the operations and services at SXM Airport, we must pay close attention to those expressing concern,” said Donker.
JetBlue explained that its decision to discontinue its daily SXM-SJU service was due to a small local market in Puerto Rico (SJU), which is currently experiencing serious economic challenges. It was revealed that local demand is very weak and significant mainland service has resulted in a traffic shift.
COPA informed the delegation that its Load Factor has been declining since July 2015 although it did not give any indication of what it intends to do as a result.
Lack of marketing efforts by St. Maarten compared to the aggressive approach of other competing destinations, such as Barbados, Aruba, Curacao and Jamaica is seen as a major weakness in maintaining and even attracting more airline service to St. Maarten.
“This puts us at risk of losing frequencies or service of carriers like Copa or Sunwing,” noted Donker.
He added that many Caribbean islands, such as Barbados are presenting incentive programs to lure service to their respective destinations.
It is, therefore, imperative that all industry partners combine efforts and strategize, and if practical, discuss incentive packages for further route development and/or extending of the high tourist season, Donker said.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten — Social & Health Insurances (SZV) has become the latest recipient of JetBlue’s ‘sweet cases’ on Friday, March 4th, 2016.
JetBlue donated fourteen ‘sweet cases’ (duffle bags), decorated by JetBlue staff members filled with stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, and a toothbrush with a timer. The bags were presented to the SZV in the presence of the Minister of Public Health, Emil Lee. The donation of the ‘sweet cases’ was made possible by JetBlue Supervisor, Shellian Ramchandani, assisted by JetBlue’s Customer Service Representative, Christopher Green.
“JetBlue distributes sweet cases annually to various organizations on St. Maarten and this year is no different. As we celebrate our 11th J.D. Power Award for best customer service, this opportunity, to exercise our commitment to giving back to the community JetBlue serves, could not have come at better time. By donating these sweet cases, we trust it will bring a smile to a child’s face. I am also very thrilled to learn of SZV and its 3.0 Vision geared towards excellent customer service”, remarked Ramchandani.
“As part of the original team together with then commissioner Roy Marlin we negotiated for JetBlue to be in service to St. Maarten. JetBlue has consistently been a great partner to St. Maarten. This donation is simply a reinforcement of their commitment to St. Maarten not only in a commercial sense but also in a social sense. That is true partnership!” – Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health
The duffle bags will be given to children referred abroad via SZV, for medical attention. That same afternoon SZV was able to hand over the first ‘sweet case’ to a parent whose baby is scheduled to travel soon.
“We are extremely happy to receive this donation. These ‘sweet cases’ will surely bring a smile to many children. It is unfortunate but true that at this time we also have to refer small children abroad for medical reasons, it is always difficult, but we do our best to facilitate the process taking the needs of the children in mind. This small gesture is one that will brighten up their spirits as they prepare to travel abroad. – Glen A. Carty, Interim Director SZV.
HAVANA, Cuba – All four US major carriers and at least three independents filed applications with the US government Wednesday seeking approval to provide nonstop services to Cuba.
The flood of filings, submitted March 2, come after the US and Cuba announced an agreement in February to resume scheduled commercial air service. Services are expected to begin late summer or early fall this year, with an initial total of 20 daily round-trip flights being allocated to US airlines between the US and Havana and 10 daily round-trip flights to nine other Cuban cities.
Those slots will be hard fought over as the consolidated “big four” – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines – and independents Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Silver Airways rushed to get their applications in. Ultra low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines, based in Florida, has also said it said it plans to apply.
American is requesting 10 daily frequencies to Havana from its Miami hub plus additional service to Havana from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Chicago. American’s proposal also includes daily service between Miami and five other Cuban cities.
To Havana, American is proposing 10 daily flights from Miami, one daily from Charlotte and DFW, and one weekly from LAX and Chicago. The oneworld carrier also wants to fly twice-daily services out of Miami to Santa Clara, Holguin and Varadero; and daily service to Camaguey and Cienfuegos.
Delta wants to fly daily flights to Havana from Atlanta, New York JFK, Miami and Orlando, using Boeing 757-200s out of its Atlanta and JFK hubs and Boeing 737-800s on the Miami and Orlando routes.
United’s proposal seeks 11 roundtrip flights per week to Havana that includes daily service from New York plus one additional Saturday flight (eight weekly flights), along with a Saturday-only flight from Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare (three weekly flights). The airline would use 737-800s.
Southwest wants to serve Havana from three Florida airports – Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay and Orlando – as well as fly to Varadero and Santa Clara from Fort Lauderdale. The carrier is an all-737 operator.
New York-based JetBlue would put Airbus A320s and A321s on 15 daily frequencies connecting four Cuba cities with six cities.
These include 2X New York JFK-Havana; 4X Fort Lauderdale-Havana; 1X Fort Lauderdale-Camagüey; 1X Fort Lauderdale-Holguiìn; 1X Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara; 2X Orlando-Havana; 2X Tampa-Havana; 1X Newark-Havana; and 1X Boston-Havana.
JetBlue said it anticipates a start date of Sept. 8, or within 100 days after receipt of all necessary approvals, whichever is earlier.
AIRPORT ROAD, St. Maarten – Effective March 01/16 all passengers travelling on WINAIR will benefit in lower ticket prices with the elimination of all fuel charges on flights operated by WINAIR.
With world fuel prices at record lows WINAIR will eliminate fuel charges for passengers and cargo on WINAIR’s network, WINAIR reduced fuel charges 6 month previously in accordance with lower fuel costs for the airline, with the current fuel prices WINAIR will no longer be required to collect fuel surcharges to cover these additional costs.
This will reduce costs for our customers as they will no longer incur these additional costs.
FORT-DE-FRANCE – Norwegian Airline will resume its seasonal winter service to the French Caribbean following a successful first winter season.
Nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Logan International Airport (BOS) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Martinique will begin on November 10.
Norwegian’s service between the United States and the French Caribbean began last December.
The flights for the 2016 winter season will operate three times per week to Martinique from New York, and twice per week to Martinique from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Boston, respectively.
“We are pleased to see the positive response from American travellers who are now enjoying easier access and affordable fares to the Caribbean, and if demand continues to grow, we hope to make this a year-round service,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“This winter’s air service to Martinique with Norwegian is a great success, and U.S. visitors are enthusiastically discovering this gem in the heart of the Caribbean that is Martinique,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau.
Martinique has been also ranked in the top 16 places to go in 2016 by Condé Nast Traveler and in Where to go in 2016 by Budget Travel.
AIRPORT ROAD, St. Maarten – On 10-10-10 WINAIR was transferred to majority shareholder country St.Maarten and minority shareholder the Netherlands with a substantial negative equity and debt position on its balance sheet due to years of accumulated operational losses. The debt position included a sizable amount due to PJIAE.
In the reorganization process of WINAIR, commitments were made to keep its accounts with PJIAE current while management worked on resolving the old debt situation between both government owned companies. On an agreement that was reached at the time, WINAIR today is handing its final payment to PJIAE, effectively cancelling out all of its old debt owed to the airport company.
WINAIR is by far PJIAE’s biggest client in terms of runway usage with some 18,473 flights executed in 2015 and second in passenger movement at 180,614 for that same year.
Both Government owned companies are committed to growth and depend on each other to reach their individual and common goals, therefore it was of the utmost importance for both companies to close this “Pre 10-10-10” chapter for good.
The National Carrier wishes to thank its employees for their hard work and dedication that made this possible.
It also wishes to thank the Supervisory Board and Management of PJIAE for their cooperation in concluding this agreement and looks forward to the continuation of this mutually beneficial relationship as WINAIR is about to celebrate its 55 years of existence.
NEW YORK, NY - Norwegian, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline, will resume its seasonal winter service to the French Caribbean following a successful first winter season.
Nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Logan International Airport (BOS) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Martinique will begin on November 10. Norwegian’s service between the United States and the French Caribbean began last December.
The flights for the 2016 winter season will operate three times per week to each island Martinique from New York, and twice per week to each island Martinique from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Boston, respectively.
[…] We are pleased to see the positive response from American travelers who are now enjoying easier access and affordable fares to the Caribbean, and if demand continues to grow, we hope to make this a year-round service.” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“This winter’s air service to Martinique with Norwegian is a great success, and U.S. visitors are enthusiastically discovering this gem in the heart of the Caribbean that is Martinique,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “Having Norwegian announce its service to Fort-de-France for 2016/17 is truly exciting! Our U.S. visitors will be able to book early for the next winter season at an excellent rate, while benefiting from modern and comfortable air service. The word is spreading about easy access to Martinique Magnifique, its superb cuisine, magnificent scenery, rich culture and traditions, excellent road network, and generous people, to name a few. We are looking forward to welcoming more and more guests from the United States with open arms.”
Flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique are now available for purchase at norwegian.com/us with fares as low as $49 one-way, including taxes. The lowest available fares to the French Caribbean and any of Norwegian’s destinations can be found by reviewing the low fare calendar.
Recently, Martinique nabbed three 2016 Travvy Awards, earning top honors in the following three categories:
• Best Cruise Destination, Caribbean
• Best Culinary Destination, Caribbean
• Best Tourism Board, The Americas
Presented by travAlliance Media, publishers of TravelPulse.com, Vacation Agent and Agent@Home, Travvy Awards recognize the highest standards of excellence in the travel and tourism industry. Winners are determined based on votes compiled by more than 30,000 travel agents.
Martinique has been also ranked in the Top 16 places to go in 2016 by Condé Nast Traveler and in Where to go in 2016 by Budget Travel.
“To be recognized in this way by our travel agent partners is truly a special honor,” Wiltord concluded.
Due to the success of Norwegian’s first seasonal service this past winter, flights from New York to Martinique have been extended through the end of April and an additional weekly flight has been added, bringing the total to four weekly flights. Last week, Norwegian also announced nonstop service to Paris from Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York.
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