Blue Wing Airlines
|Operating bases||Zorg en Hoop Airport|
|Key people||Mr. Amichand Jhauw (MD), Mr. Soejijar Verkuijl (Director of operations)|
Blue Wing Airlines n.v. is an airline with its head office on the grounds of Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, Suriname. The airline started operations in January 2002 and operates charter and scheduled services from Paramaribo to destinations in the interior of Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela and the Caribbean area. Its main base is Zorg en Hoop Airport. The airline was on the list of air carriers banned in the EU; however, they were removed from the list as of 28 November 2007. As of 6 July 2010, however, the airline was once again on the blacklist and remains on the blacklist to this current day. In 2014 the airline was ranked as one of the worlds least safe by Airline Ratings.
Blue Wing Airlines was established in 2002 and is actually the successor of Inter Tropical Aviation (ITA). ITA operated Cessna 206 Stationairs, Islanders, a LET 410, an Antonov 28 and (briefly) a Convair 440 on domestic routes in Suriname. ITA entered the competition with SLM and KLM on the trans-Atlantic route by starting flights between Paramaribo and Brussels (Belgium) using aircraft from the Belgian airline CityBird and (later on) the Greece airline Electra Airlines. Late August 2001, around 800 passengers stranded at Paramaribo after ITA was not able to pay for the Electra Airlines DC-10 they leased. Eventually, the stranded passengers were taken to Amsterdam by SLM and KLM flights, for some with 3 weeks delay, and for own cost of the stranded passengers. Late October 2001, ITA was formally declared bankrupt on request of Dutch ABN-AMRO bank. The licenses for both domestic and trans-Atlantic flights were already withdrawn earlier. At that time, the managing direction of Inter Tropical Aviation, Amichand Jhauw, was already working on the establishment of a new domestic carrier. During the last tumultuous weeks of ITA, major shareholder S. Guptar acted as spokesman. Amichand Jhauw explicitly stayed on the background causing Guptar to be the “face” of ITA and been seen as the person guilty on the collapse of ITA. The ITA fleet, during the bankruptcy consisting of Cessna U206G Stationair PZ-TGQ and Antonov An-28 PZ-TGW, was bought by Guptar during a public sale. During the bankruptcy process was already noticed that there were gaps in the ITA book-keeping, and that according the cashbooks money was withdrawn from the company.
Early fleet and problems
PZ-TGP & PZ-TGQ (Cessna U206G Stationairs 6) and PZ-TGW (Antonov 28) became the first aircraft of Blue Wing Airlines (named after the Blue Wing, a local bird). Per January 2002, Blue Wing started operations from Zorg en Hoop airfield in Paramaribo with managing director Amichand Jhauw. It was started with domestic operations to the many small strips Suriname is owing to mining activities. In the mean time also scheduled services to neighbor Guyana and French Guyana were offered. During 2004 and 2005, four Antonov 28s were added to the fleet. Earlier another former ITA Cessna U206G (PZ-TLV) was put into service. In May 2006, the Antonovs were the only aircraft capable to operate from the inland strips during the severe flooding and were extensively used for relief flights. Shortly after, the Antonovs caused a lot of commotion in Suriname after Blue Wing was put on the European Union black list of unsafe airliners. The French aviation authority established that “specific safety rules, as recorded in the Chicago Treaty, were not fulfilled” and that “there was no adequate reaction on a query regarding safety issues”. It appeared that the absence of Ground Proximity Warning Systems (GPWS) on board of the Blue Wing aircraft caused the problems. Since 2006, GPWS was already obliged in France, but from 2010 on worldwide. Because Blue Wing received permission to operate on French Guyana, the French insisted on putting Blue Wing on the list. It appeared that members of the French diplomacy were advised earlier not to travel with Blue Wing. Late 2007 Blue Wing was removed from the list after GPWS was purchased. Meanwhile, local newspapers and other media speculated about the safety of the Antonovs.
On April 3, 2008, destiny strikes. During a go-around at the Benzdorp Lawa Antino Airstrip, Suriname, Antonov An-28 PZ-TSO was lost. The aircraft crashed into the jungle about 150 m next to the strip and burst into flames. All 19 occupants were killed. Among the victims was pilot Soeriani Verkuijl, wife of Amichand Jhauw. Only by late October 2008 the Flight Data Recorder was discovered during a reconstruction of the wreck. The investigation into the accident is not finished yet. The crash again attracted attention to the safety of the Antonov An-28. Also investigation was focused on the awkward infrastructure of the (not certificated) inland strips, of which several are privately owned. From late 2008 on the effects of the economical crisis were felt due to decrease of the mining activities and dropping tourism. Also, on the local market, prices for fuel increased sharp. The scheduled services appeared lucrative enough to survive. On October 15, 2009 a second Antonov An-28 was lost. PZ-TST broke into two pieces after a hard landing on the Kwamalasamutu strip in the South of Suriname. Luckily all 4 occupants remained uninjured. Finally a third Blue Wing Antonov An-28 (PZ-TSV) crashed on May 15, 2010 near Poeketi in which all 6 passengers and two crew perished, grounding the remaining two Antonovs (PZ-TSA, which is the re-registered PZ-TGW & PZ-TSN) of Blue Wing indefinitely.
Fleet renewal and expansion
Probably under influence of the negative media attention, new types were gradually introduced into the Blue Wing fleet. During 2007, a Cessna 208 Caravan I (PZ-TSB) was added to the fleet, while at the end of 2007 the first DHC-6 Twin Otter (PZ-TSD) was purchased. During November 2008 again a new type was added to the fleet when a Reims/Cessna F406 Caravan II (PZ-TSF) arrived. This aircraft is operated as an “executive transport”. Furthermore, a few weeks later, a second DHC-6 Twin Otter (PZ-TSH) was purchased in Australia. In 2010 a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (PZ-TSK) was added to the fleet and in March 2015 another Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (PZ-TSL) was the latest addition to the Blue Wing Airlines fleet.
Blue Wing Airlines entered into a sales agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for two ex-KLM cityhopper Fokker 70s early January 2014. Blue Wing has taken delivery of PH-KZV (msn 11556) and PH-WXA (11570) in 2014. KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70 PH-KZV was withdrawn from service at Norwich on January 5, 2014 after arriving as KL1515 from Amsterdam, KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70 PH-WXA was withdrawn from service at Amsterdam in the morning of March 30, 2014 after arriving as KL1486 from Humberside. The aircraft then positioned Amsterdam – Norwich for maintenance early the same afternoon as KL9955 where both aircraft were being prepared for service. The aircraft have subsequently been sold to Fly All Ways, a new independent start up airline that will be offering transport to regional destinations. On November 20, 2014 the first aircraft (PH-WXA) landed at the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport of Suriname in Fly All Ways colours. One month later the second Fly All Ways aircraft (PH-KZV) arrived in Suriname. These two are now registered as PZ-TFA & PZ-TFB in Suriname and stationed at the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport 
The Blue Wing Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of 16 August 2014):
|Cessna 206||3||1 pilot plus 5 passengers|
|Cessna 208 Caravan||3||1-2 pilots plus 9 passengers||(Max 14 passengers with FAR Part 23 waiver)|
|DHC-6 Twin Otter||2||2 pilots plus 19 passengers|
|Reims-Cessna F406 Caravan II||1||2 pilots plus 10 passengers|
- 5 Antonov An-28 (3 lost in accidents)
Accidents and incidents
- On 3 April 2008, an Antonov An-28, registration PZ-TSO crashed upon landing at the Lawa Antino Airstrip of Benzdorp in southeastern Suriname. The plane carried 17 passengers and a crew of two; all were killed.
- On 15 October 2009, another Antonov An-28, registration PZ-TST, was damaged beyond repair while landing at Kwamelasemoetoe Airstrip close to the Trio Indian village in the south of Suriname on an interior flight from Zorg en Hoop Airport. Fortunately of the 8 persons on-board only one crew-member and 3 passengers were reported slightly injured.
- On 15 May 2010, a third Antonov An-28, registration PZ-TSV crashed over the upper-Marowijne District, approximately three miles north-east of Poeketi, Suriname. The two pilots and six passengers died. The plane had taken off from Godo Holo Airstrip.
- ICAO Document 8585 Edition 139
- "Eight feared dead in Suriname air crash." Reuters. 16 May 2010. Retrieved on 17 May 2010.
- Flight International 27 March 2007
- Geoffrey, Thomas. "AirlineRatings.com names the top ten safest airlines". Airline Ratings. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Harro Ranter (3 April 2008). "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TSO Lawa-Antino Airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Harro Ranter (15 October 2009). "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TST Kwamalasamutu Airfield". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Harro Ranter (15 May 2010). "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TSV Poeketi". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "::Avianet.eu:: De luchtvaartsite van Nederland.". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Stichting AIRnieuws Nederland". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Blue Wing Airlines Fleet
- "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TSO Lawa-Antino Airport". Aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TST Kwamalasamutu Airfield". Aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 28 PZ-TSV Poeketi". Aviation-safety.net. 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-18.