DAE cancels St. Maarten flights until November 5

October 31, 2007 by admin
Filed under: Airline News, Press Releases, St. Maarten News 

CURACAO/AIRPORT–The woes of Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) passengers have now turned into a Halloween nightmare. The airline has cancelled all its flights between St. Maarten and Curacao from yesterday until November 4. The first flight should be airborne on November 5.

Roy Mingo of airline agent Arrindell Aviation Services told The Daily Herald the airline had issued a bulletin Monday afternoon informing all travel agents and ticketing counters that one of its aircraft would be taken from Colombia to Mexico today for an engine change.

With DAE cancelling its flights many travellers wishing to move between St. Maarten and the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) had to resort to more expensive flights via Puerto Rico.

DAE’s ATR aircraft is undergoing its regular maintenance in Texas, which is taking longer than expected.

The airline has a fleet of five aircraft: three ATRs and two Fokker 100s. With these five aircraft, DAE carries out more than 210 flights per week. To guarantee punctuality, DAE fully deploys three aircraft and sometimes a fourth one, depending on the day, under normal circumstances. This means that two aircraft are on stand-by most of the time.

According to a press release from DAE, passengers who already have tickets or parts of tickets can get a refund, cash or a travel voucher. For those who accept a travel voucher, DAE will ‘throw in’ an additional 25 per cent, a refund of 125 per cent, for future travel.

Flights to and from Bogota, Colombia, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, have also been affected.

Last week’s solution of a chartered Laser aircraft from Venezuela was not possible this week because of maintenance work on that aircraft, explained DAE Managing Director Floris van Pallandt. Laser executed 42 flights for DAE, including some on the St. Maarten route. Passengers on the Sunday and Monday flights were transferred to Insel Air.

Van Pallandt stressed that aircraft were pieces of machinery that required maintenance and sometimes they broke down. This case, he added, was a typical example of “Murphy’s Law.” He reminded the public that, in the past two years, DAE had executed flights with a high rate of punctuality and with very few cancellations.

DAE apologised for the inconvenience and said it would do everything in its power to resume regular operations as soon as possible.

Source: The Daily Herald St. Maarten

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