The current economic crisis, that will ultimately have a devastating effect on the St. Maarten tourism economy, will only serve to prove that an island like St. Maarten solely dependent on tourism income can not rely only on the whims of the major airlines to provide airlift to the island.
St. Maarten needs its own airline. St. Maarten needs to take control of the vitally important airlift to the island to safeguards its future. With a government sponsored airline company – unlike the expensive government-owned airport company – St. Maarten would be able to afford to fly passengers for free to St. Maarten. The passengers can then use the money saved to spend in the local economy at hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping and island activities.
I can’t think of a better way to stimulate the economy and maintain growth on the island in these trying times where creative and proactive action is badly needed.
The place to start is with Winair. Assume ownership first. Then sponsor the airline to provide free airlift from the surrounding Caribbean islands to bring tourists, business travelers and shoppers to the island. That will boost the island’s economy. Then slowly expand to subsidize inter-regional, long haul and transatlantic flights.
Trust me, in the long run, this business model will pay off for the island. I have seen Caribbean governments waste more money in foolish endeavours to not think this is a much better allocation of scarce taxpayers monies.
Newsupdate, May 1st, 2009 : AIRLINES DONATE FREE TICKETS TO ST. MARTIN
Three airlines have donated seats to delegates attending St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Tradeshow ( SMART ) that starts May 20 in Radisson St. Martin Resort, Marina and Spa. Air France, CorsairFly and Air Caraibes have donated 20 seats each to European and Regional delegates and will also have their representatives on the SMART selling floor. Read more>>>
Terrance Rey is owner and operator of AirStMaarten, Caribbean’s first virtual airline based in St. Maarten; organizing and coordinating commercial flights, shared charters and private charters to and from St. Maarten, St. Barths, Anguilla, Antigua, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and throughout the rest of the Caribbean.
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