Bonaire Express

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Bonaire Express
IATA ICAO Callsign
9H BXL Bonaire Express
Commenced operations 18 August 2003
Ceased operations 30 April 2005
Operating bases
Focus cities
Fleet size 6
Destinations 4
Parent company Bonair Bellegings Participatie Maatschappij
Headquarters Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Bonaire Express was an airline based in Bonaire, Netherlands. It was the regional airline for the Netherlands Antilles and also acted as a feeder for DutchCaribbeanExel while under the BonairExel brand and part of the ExelAviation Group and later for KLM for its long-haul services to Europe. Its main bases were Flamingo International Airport (BON), Bonaire, with focus cities in Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), Aruba and Hato Airport (CUR), Curaçao.


The airline was established in 2003 and started operations on 18 August 2003. It was formerly known as BonairExel and was wholly owned by Bonair Bellegings Participatie Maatschappij. BonairExel formed part of the ExelAviation Group as the initial feeder between the islands of the Netherlands Antilles. On 30 April 2005 BonairExel was merged with Curaçao Express and both companies assets and personnel where transferred which together formed Dutch Antilles Express.

Initially, regarding the ATR aircraft, those flying under the BonairExel brand were used interisland between Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The one under CuracaoExel was used on the Bonaire-Curaçao-Sint Maarten route and the one under ArubaExel was planned to be used on the Aruba-Venezuela routes connecting to and from Bonaire/Curaçao but never commenced due to the dismantling of the ExelAviation Group. The Embraer 145 was planned to be used to the fly to the United States but was considered too small in size and baggage space.


Bonaire Express operated the following services (at January 2005):

Domestic scheduled destinations:



St Maarten

International scheduled destinations:



The Bonaire Express fleet consisted of the following aircraft (at January 2005):[1]

BonairExel Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
ATR 42-320 4 46 1 Operated by ArubaExel
ATR 42-500 1 48 Operated by CuracaoExel/CuracaoExpress
Embraer ERJ 145MP 1 1 49 Returned before being rebranded BonairExpress
Total 6 1

Incidents and Accidents[edit]

In the month of September 2004, a BonairExel ATR 42-320, Registration PJ-XLM, had to make an emergency landing due to a small fire that started in the number 2 engine. The plane was flying from Bonaire to Curaçao when the passengers sitting on the left side of the aircraft noticed that smoke was coming out of the engine. The aircraft landed safely at Hato International Airport. No one was hurt. A few weeks later, the ATR aircraft was successfully restored and continued flying with DAE until its bankruptcy