Air Aruba began in September 1986 as a ground handling agent for most airlines in Aruba. Two years after being founded, on August 18 to be exact, Air Aruba (with the help of KLM & later Air Holland) carried out its first commercial flight with YS-11 turbo-prop type aircraft operating between the "ABC" islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao as well as Caracas, Venezuela. Over the years Air Aruba expanded its schedule to various destinations in the Caribbean (Santa Domingo, St. Maarten), North America (Newark, Miami) and South America (São Paulo, Maracaibo, Las Piedras). Air Aruba also started flying across the Atlantic to Amsterdam and Cologne. This flight was initially operated in conjunction with Air Holland but was later assumed completely by Air Aruba. Subsequently the fleet was also upgraded, shifting more from turbo-prop type aircraft to jet type aircraft, including the Boeing 727, 737, 757, and 767. On the ground Air Aruba also kept developing, forming a new ground handling company as a subsidiary in joint ownership with Ogden Aviation Services. Air Aruba also expanding its reservations office in North America coping with the demand. Air Aruba had a committed staff with a reputation for excellence, hospitality, and service. Air Aruba took great pride in the quality of customer service on its flights.
Carrying on the tradition of the Aruban people, Air Aruba strove to bring the friendliness of Aruba to the airline industry, however financial problems made the Government of seek for a new owner for the airline. On October 27, 1998, Air Aruba N.V. secured a takeover by the Venezuelan airline Aserca who became the majority owner of Air Aruba. In December 1998, Air Aruba leased two brand new MD-90's expanding the total fleet to 5 aircraft. At the same time Air Aruba also inaugurated the route to Philadelphia and re-opened the route to Baltimore making the total number of destinations to 10. In the competitive airline industry it is important to have stable partnerships with other respected international airlines. Air Aruba had done so by developing fruitful partnerships with amongst others Continental Airlines and K.L.M. In March 1999, Air Aruba had established a far going agreement with Aserca Airlines and Air ALM to provide a better service in the Caribbean and South America for both its customers and its employees. The rising cost of operations and management caused Air Aruba to file bankruptcy in 2000. Air Aruba suspended its operations as of October 23, 2000.
Air Aruba's YS-11s were the first acquired airplanes to be introduced into their fleet. After some time, Air Aruba initially replaced these with EMB120s. Later on, they acquired a Boeing 757 (to fly to Miami). Furthermore, the fleet size expanded by introducing the Boeing 727, 737 and a 767 that operated flights throughout Europe and some U.S. routes. In the last operating years of Air Aruba, only the MD-88, MD-90 and DC-9 were utilized by Air Aruba before closing its doors.
Air Aruba's fleet consisted of the following aircraft: