MIAMI — InselAir has faced turbulent times during the last weeks, after a series of events that have cast doubts on the future of the Antillean carrier.
The last week, most of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft in service with InselAir Aruba have been grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority of Aruba, after safety concerns. The grounding caused several delays and cancellations, and forced the airline to lease an Airbus A320 to Dominican Wings for its flights from Curazao to Saint Maarten, and a Boeing 737-300 to Swift Air for its flights to Miami.
Earlier this year, InselAir implemented a plan intended to cut costs by $1.12 million per month, which implied the suspension of several routes, including Quito in Ecuador, Valencia in Venezuela, and Havana in Cuba.
The carrier has been facing financial difficulties, partly attributed to the inability to repatriate its income from Venezuela, due to the existing exchange control in that country and has not cleared the remittance of such revenues for several years.
To cope with the losses, the Government of Curazao has granted a loan for $18.4 million to the carrier, which in turn has obtained more pledge and usufruct on 51% of the shares of InselAir, acquiring all normal shareholder rights, without becoming the owner.
The crisis caused the carrier’s CEO, Albert Kluyver, to quit, in a move intended to bring stability to the airline and find a strategic partner for InselAir. His successor, Gilles Filiatreault, is now focused on presenting a plan to the government by the end of this month.
“The main goal right now is to bring comfort back to the passengers so they can fly with us. We need to also bring back the pride among the employees for being employed at the airline,” Filiatreault said.