Insel Air

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Insel Air
Insel Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
7I
8I
INC
NLU
INSELAIR
INSEL ARUBA
Founded 1993 (INC)
2013 (NLU)
Commenced operations 2006 (INC)
2014 (NLU)
Hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Insel Star Miles
Alliance Pan Caribbean Alliance
Subsidiaries Insel Air Aruba
Fleet size 16
Destinations 22
Company slogan Reaching Higher
Headquarters Maduro Plaza, Dokweg 19, Willemstad, Curaçao
Key people
  • H.A. Van Der Kwast, Chairman
  • Albert Kluyver, CEO (2006-2017)
    Gilles Filiatreault (2017-Present)
Revenue Decrease US$ 245 million (2015)[1]
Employees 750 (2016)
Website Fly-InselAir.com

Insel Air (formally Insel Air International B.V.) is a Dutch Caribbean carrier that serves as the national airline of Curaçao. It is headquartered in Maduro Plaza, Willemstad.[2]

Insel Air currently serves 22 destinations throughout the Caribbean, South America and North America.[1] Its fleet consists of McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-83, Fokker 70 and Fokker 50 aircraft. The airline's main hubs are Hato International Airport (Insel Air Curaçao) and Queen Beatrix International Airport (Insel Air Aruba) with a secondary hub at Princess Juliana International Airport.[3] Insel Air was incorporated as a private limited liability company (Dutch: Besloten Vennootschap) on September 8, 1993 and is registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Curaçao under number 64577. Insel Air is the largest Caribbean-based airline and expects to carry 1.4 million passengers in 2016.[4]

History[edit]

Insel Air MD-80 aircraft at Hato International Airport
Insel Air Aruba Fokker 50 taxiing to gate at Hato International Airport

Early years[edit]

Insel Air started operations on August 28, 2006 with one Embraer 110-P1 Bandeirante flying out of Curaçao to the neighboring island of Aruba. Soon afterwards, Insel Air began flights to the neighbouring island of Bonaire and also to Las Piedras in Venezuela.

Starting in January 2007, the airline began serving the Eastern and Northern Caribbean via Sint Maarten with a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 and with an additional McDonnell Douglas MD-82 in June 2008. Insel Air also added services to Miami via Curaçao and Bonaire at this time.

In September 2009, Insel Air took delivery of a second MD-82 aircraft. The aircraft arrived at Curacao as N434AG, being the only MD-80 with the known "screwdriver tail" at the time. Insel took delivery of its third MD82 on December 4, 2009 and fourth MD82 in May 2011. At this time Insel Air began operating four new destinations – Medellin, Charlotte, Barquisimeto and Caracas.

Development since 2011[edit]

Following the introduction of new services to Medellin and Charlotte, the airline added a fifth MD-80 on May 12, 2011. Apart from the new flights to Charlotte and Medellin, Insel Air is now flying to Manaus in Brazil and Barranquilla (Colombia). The Company also completed the IATA operational safety audit (IOSA) and joined ALTA, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association in November 2011.[5]

On November 16, 2012, Insel Air inaugurated its Curacao-Maracaibo route and began regular operations on December 14. Mr Kluyver (CEO of Insel Air) said a sixth MD80 series aircraft will enter service in December 2012 and a seventh aircraft is slated to enter service in May 2013. The capacity generated by the forthcoming expansion of the MD-80 fleet will be directed by the Aruba venture. Insel Air was originally planning to expand its MD-80 fleet in early 2012 but delayed the project due to delays in launching Insel Air Aruba.[6] In 2012 Insel Air Aruba received its AOC certificate, giving the airline official authorization to perform services out of Aruba. Insel Air Aruba will begin operating 13 new routes - Miami, Santo Domingo, Cuba, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Bonaire, Curacao, Caracas, Valencia, Maracaibo, Ecuador, Belem, Manaus.

Insel Air and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines consolidated their cooperation with a code-sharing agreement, offering customers greater comfort and options and thereby enabling them to travel to destinations served by the two partners without having to re-check luggage. Additionally, flight schedules will be closely coordinated so that travel time is minimized. In August 2013 Insel Air celebrated its first ‘in house’ heavy maintenance (C-Check) in Curacao on an MD-82. It was for the first time that the airline performed the check on its aircraft using its in-house expertise. In the past, the check was carried out abroad. The C-check is a big overhaul that needs to be conducted every year and a half according to regulations.[7]

Insel Air inaugurated its first four services from Aruba operated by Insel Air Aruba in the first half of 2014. Insel Air Aruba began operations to Miami, Valencia, Caracas, which were already served by via Insel Air's Curacao hub and Georgetown, Guyana was introduced in the network via Aruba in June 2014. Insel Air had also introduced Barranquilla, Colombia in June 2014 and La Romana, Dominican Republic in July 2014 from the airline's Curacao hub.[8] The airline had also acquired 3 ex-KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70's with the first aircraft having arrived on July 12, 2014. The Fokker jets are planned to be operated out of both the Aruba and Curacao hubs.[9] The Embraers were retired early in 2014. In December Insel Air introduced two new services from its hub in Curacao: Port-of-Spain (in Trinidad) was relaunched on December 15, 2014 and Georgetown was added on December 18, 2014. On January 14, 2015 Insel Air Aruba introduced its direct flight to Manaus, Brazil.[10] In 2015 the airline employs around 650 people, offers approximately 52 daily flights to 23 destinations and plans to grow to 27 destinations in 2015.[11]

In the third quarter of 2015 Insel Air made its first serious announcement about the acquisition of a new aircraft type including a target time frame. According to the CEO, InselAir is targeting 2017 as the year it hopes to acquire one or more Airbus 319s. For a couple of years already Insel Air was hinting about the acquisition of a new aircraft type, however a serious announcement did never hit the light. With the acquisition of this aircraft type; new destinations in Canada, USA and South America like Argentina and Brazil can become a serious option for the growing network of the airline.[12]

Financial Issues[edit]

In late 2016, Insel Air began seeing effects of the growing financial issues due to non payment from Venezuela which resulted in most of its Curacao registered (PJ) aircraft being grounded due to lack of maintenance. This included 2 MD-80's and 3 Fokker 50's. The airline began leasing the 4 MD-80's and 3 Fokker 70 aircraft from its sister company Insel Air Aruba. In January 2017, after several incidents involving loss of cabin pressure, mostly involving the MD-80 aircraft, as well as the pilots refusing to take off from Sint Maarten, lead to the grounding of all of the Aruban registered (P4) aircraft that were leased to Insel Air from Insel Air Aruba by the Curacao Civil Aviation Authority and Department of Civil Aviation in Aruba, for inspection. This included the 4 MD-80 and the 2 Fokker 70's in service. This resulted in 80% of the overall fleet to be grounded, leaving only 3 Fokker 50 flying and all of the International flights cancelled.[13]

Due to the grounding, the airline has had to lease aircraft from other companies, including a Boeing 737-400 from USA-based Swift Air, and an Airbus A320 from Dominican Wings for its Sint Maarten-Santo Domingo flights.[14] Other leased aircraft included an Estelar Latinoamérica Boeing 737-400 operating Barquisimeto and Caracas as well as a Fokker 70 from Fly All Ways for its Georgetown and Suriname routes.

Amid its current financial troubles, the airline would adapt its current flight schedule to accommodate its current state. In October 2016, it was announced that the airline would adapt its flight schedule to cut back on its shorter flights, mainly between Curacao and Aruba.[15] In January 2017, It was revealed that its Quito flights, which were upgraded to scheduled flights in 2016 has now been downgraded once more to seasonal flights and will be operated via Curacao and is slated to resume in the summer of 2017. Flights between Miami and Port-Au-Prince as well as Curacao and Valencia have also been downgraded to seasonal flights and will resume in the higher travel season. Curacao to Havana will have a month long hiatus ending in February but resuming in March 2017.[16] Destinations such as Barranquilla and San Juan have also been dropped as the airline continures with its measures to stabilize its route network.[17]

The Government of Curaçao, together with the shareholders and management of Insel Air joined forces to safeguard the vital air links for the island by ensuring that Insel Air is financially and operationally healthy and strong. Last weekend, the airline signed an agreement, whereby the government, under certain guarantees and conditions, provides a loan to Insel Air. Under this agreement, the government provides a loan of 33 million guilders (18.6 million dollars), payable in installments depending on the implementation of a stabilization plan. As security for this loan, the government obtains more pledge on 51% of the shares in the operating companies of Insel Air. The government acquires all normal shareholder rights, without becoming the owner.[18]

In regards to the recent issues, as well as most of its fleet being used by Insel Air, Insel Air Aruba has suspended its commercial services using its own flight numbers while the Department of Civil Aviation of Aruba completes inspection of its current fleet after it was said in a statement that the Department of Civil Aviation would carry out routine inspection of four of its eight aircraft simultaneously which would gradually be released back into service when compliance was verified. The ensuing capacity shortage across both carriers has caused significant delays and cancellations with numerous enraged and unsatisfied customers. Insel Air, is in the process of restructuring its operations with help of the Government of Curacao and its financial backing. As part of the plan, Insel Air Aruba would likely be re-positioned as a charter carrier going forward, although this has yet to be finalized.[19]

In February 2017, it was announced that the airline's CEO, Albert Kluyver, would resign from his position after a transition period which has already started. Kluyver has led the organization in his role as Chief Executive Officer since the early beginnings in 2006. Kluyver will continue his efforts, in his role as shareholder, to strengthen the liquidity of the company he co-founded by focusing on the repatriation of the outstanding funds in Venezuela and to find a strategic partner for the company.[20] Mr. Gilles Filiatreault has been appointed as the company's temporary CEO until further notice.[21]

It has been stated by the airline's executives that the aircraft comply with all safety regulations and that they are stable and safe to fly. The airline is currently looking into a stabilization plan, which is generally focused on going back to the basics. This means, as a part of phase one, that the airline will be focusing on operating Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Sint Maarten flights for the time being, which is considered the airline's core business. The second phase of the plan is to continue operations to Suriname and Miami. Venezuela, which used to be considered as the airline's "pot of gold", is not part of the stabilization plan.[22]

Destinations[edit]

Insel Air operates scheduled flights to 22 destinations across Brazil, the Caribbean, Colombia, the United States and Venezuela from its hubs in Curacao and Aruba. The airline operates Seasonal flights to additional destinations as well as charter flights on demand.[23] In December 2015 Insel Air started charter flights from Miami to 5 different destinations in Cuba. These destinations are Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Havana, Santa Clara and Holguin.[24] Furthermore, Insel Air is planning to introduce Antigua, Barbados and Santiago de Cali (Colombia) to its network.[25]

[Hub] Base and Hub
Hub
¤ Focus city
[S] Seasonal
[F] Future destination
# Terminated destination
7I/INC Insel Air Curacao
8I/NLU Insel Air Aruba
City Country IATA ICAO Airport Refs/Notes 7I/INC 8I/NLU
Barquisimeto  Venezuela BRM SVBM Jacinto Lara International Airport Suspended X -
Barranquilla  Colombia BAQ SKBQ Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport Suspended X -
Boa Vista  Brazil BVB SBBV Atlas Brasil Cantanhede International Airport Start Date TBA - -
Bridgetown  Barbados BGI TBPB Grantley Adams International Airport Start Date TBA - -
Cali  Colombia CLO SKCL Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport Start Date TBA - -
Caracas  Venezuela CCS SVMI Simón Bolívar International Airport Suspended X -
Charlotte  United States CLT KCLT Charlotte/Douglas International Airport X -
Georgetown  Guyana GEO SYCJ Cheddi Jagan International Airport Suspended X -
Havana  Cuba HAV MUHA José Martí International Airport Suspended X -
Kingston  Jamaica KIN MKJP Norman Manley International Airport Suspended X -
Kralendijk  Caribbean Netherlands BON TNCB Flamingo International Airport X -
La Romana  Dominican Republic LRM MDLR La Romana International Airport X -
Manaus  Brazil MAO SBEG Eduardo Gomes International Airport Suspended X -
Maracaibo  Venezuela MAR SVMC La Chinita International Airport X -
Medellin  Colombia MDE SKRG José María Córdova International Airport Suspended X X
Miami  United States MIA KMIA Miami International Airport Suspended X -
Oranjestad  Aruba AUA TNCA Queen Beatrix International Airport X X
Paramaribo  Suriname PBM SMJP Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport Suspended X X
Philipsburg  Sint Maarten SXM TNCM Princess Juliana International Airport X X
Port-au-Prince  Haiti PAP MTPP Toussaint Louverture International Airport Suspended X -
Port of Spain  Trinidad and Tobago POS TTPP Piarco International Airport Suspended X -
Puerto Ordaz  Venezuela PZO SVPR Manuel Carlos Piar Guayana Airport X -
Punta Cana  Dominican Republic PUJ MDPC Punta Cana International Airport Suspended X -
Punto Fijo  Venezuela LSP SVJC Josefa Camejo International Airport Suspended X -
Quito  Ecuador UIO SEQM Mariscal Sucre International Airport Suspended X X
San Juan  Puerto Rico SJU TJSJ Luis Munoz Marin International Airport Suspended X X
Santo Domingo  Dominican Republic SDQ MDSD Las Americas International Airport Suspended X X
St. John's  Antigua and Barbuda ANU TAPA V. C. Bird International Airport Start Date TBA - -
Valencia  Venezuela VLN SVVA Arturo Michelena International Airport Suspended X -
Willemstad  Curaçao CUR TNCC Hato International Airport X X

Codeshare/Interline agreements[edit]

Insel Air has not established itself with any airline alliance, but has interline agreements with the following airlines:[26]

Starting of March 27, 2011, passengers carrying a KLM ticket could also fly to all Insel Air destinations. Passengers were transported on one ticket, with automatic baggage transfer via Insel Air's hubs in Curacao and Sint Maarten. This interline agreement pertains to five destinations - Kingston, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Port-au-Prince and Las Piedras. On December 1, 2012, codeshare flights began between both carriers.[27] The consolidation and expansion of this cooperation between KLM and InselAir enabled KLM to establish better connections to Caribbean destinations via Curacao. It also allowed Insel Air to better accommodate this growing need and to offer passengers greater convenience and additional destinations.

On November 17, 2016, KLM announced it would suspend its codeshare agreement with Insel Air until further notice. This is due to Insel Air's recent struggle with maintenance issues and diminished performance.[28] The agreement had been restored in the form of an interline agreement between the two airlines, starting back early December 2016.[29]

Fleet[edit]

Current fleet[edit]

As of January 2017, the fleet of Insel Air and Insel Air Aruba consists of the following aircraft:[30][31]

Insel Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
7I 8I Y+ Y Total
Fokker 50 3 8 42 50 1 in Maintencance
Fokker 70 3 15 65 80 Grounded
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 1 8 137 145 Grounded
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 2
1
15 137 152 Grounded
150 150
Total 3 7 0

Previously operated[edit]

Over the years, Insel Air and Insel Air Aruba operated the following types:

Insel Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Passengers Notes
7I 8I Y+ Y Total
Embraer 110-P1 Bandeirante 2
1
15
19
15
19
1 awaiting future decision
Fokker 50 4 8 42 50 2 still awaiting to be Scrapped
Fokker 70 1 15 65 80 Still awaiting to be Scrapped
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 2 1 15 137 152 1 still awaiting to be Scrapped
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 1 1 15 137 152 1 still awaiting to be Scrapped
Total 10 3

Livery[edit]

Insel Air Aruba McDonnell Douglas MD-82

The initial livery which was introduced on the Embraer 110's and the first 5 McDonnell Douglas MD80's, was a simplified livery of a white fuselage with the Insel Air logo near the front and a blue tail with a yellow curved line and 2 white stars representing the Curacao flag. The MD80's received a modified logo and a lighter blue color on the tail while the Embraers (with the exception of the first delivered aircraft) remained unchanged.

The McDonnell Douglas MD80's later received a new livery when the acquisition for the Fokker 50's were finalised and when Insel Air Aruba was established. The livery, which was introduced on the airline's 6th MD80, consisted of the same simplified white fuselage with the new updated Insel Air logo and three (yellow, red and blue) wave-like curves near the front and with an even lighter blue tail, but three (yellow, red and blue) wave-like curves replaced the yellow curved line and two white stars on the tail. This livery has also been applied to the rest of the MD80 fleet as well as the Fokker 70's that were delivered in 2014.

One MD82, which is operated by Insel Air Aruba, featured a similar livery, but the official Aruba logo is located near the front while the Insel Air logo is closer to the center emergency exit doors and bears an Aruban registration. The MD83's operated by Insel Air Aruba still wears the standard livery but with an Aruban registration.

The Fokker 50's are also having some of their aircraft updated with the standard livery consisting of the white fuselage featuring the Insel Air logo and the blue tail containing the three colored waves. Two Fokker 50's have somewhat of a similar to the Insel Air Aruba MD82. The aircraft wears an enlarged version of the official Aruba logo in the front of the aircraft with a light blue and light green stripe running across the fuselage to the back. The aircraft also has the same light blue tail resembling the MD80's but includes the Insel Air logo with the three (yellow, red and blue) wave-like curves. The forward part of the tail includes an even lighter shade of blue blending into white. All six Fokkers still wear Curacao registrations.

Before being retired, the first Embraer operated by Insel Air received a new livery resembling that of the MD80's. The aircraft was named Elis Juliana, after a popular author and poet from Curacao.

Services[edit]

Onboard[edit]

Insel Air and Insel Air Aruba offers inflight service on flights longer than 45 minutes. For customers seated in Comfort class are offered Alcoholic beverages, Premium food, Local newspapers and a Comfort Class travel kit. For Economy class, customers are offered free food and beverages, local newspapers and also a chance to win back your ticket raffle.[32] Insel Air's inflight magazine INsights, are available onboard all aircraft and available for personal possession.

Loyalty programme[edit]

Insel Air's frequent flyer/loyalty programme is called "Insel Star Miles" in which members earn points for miles flown, with benefits such as priority check-in and free bagagge allowances. Membership levels include Basic, Silver, Gold and Diamond.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "InselAir cements leading position in Dutch Caribbean with further expansion in Aruba and Curacao". CAPA Centre for Aviation. June 23, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "General conditions" (Archive) Insel Air. Retrieved on 21 March 2014. "Our Registered Address is Dokweg 19, Maduro Plaza, Willemstad, Curacao."
  3. ^ "Profile on InselAir - CAPA - Centre for Aviation". centreforaviation.com. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Insel Air joins ALTA as IOSA certified airline". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Curacao's InselAir targets Miami-Venezuela market with launch of new Aruba subsidiary". centreforaviation.com. 
  7. ^ Insel Air conducts in-house C-check
  8. ^ "Nieuws - InselAir". fly-inselair.com. 
  9. ^ "Surinam's Blue Wing and Insel Air acquire ex-KLM cityhopper Fokker 70s". ch-aviation. 
  10. ^ News Department - GJ. "Insel air ta lansa vuelo inaugural Aruba - Manaus". 24ora.com - Prome den Noticia. 
  11. ^ "About InselAir". fly-inselair.com. 
  12. ^ "INSELAIR TARGETS 2017 FOR A319 ACQUISITIONS: CEO". magazine.airlineprofits.com. 
  13. ^ "Weekend of crisis in the Curaçao aviation". 30 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Update InselAir operations (nieuws) - InselAir". www.fly-inselair.com. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "InselAir will adapt its schedule". 20 October 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "InselAir suspends routes amid financial troubles". 13 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "InselAir takes measures to stabilize route network". 6 February 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Government and InselAir reach agreement; 33 million guilders for the airline". 30 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "Insel Air Aruba suspends operations under own flightcode". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Change of leadership role within InselAir". 2 February 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  21. ^ "Temporary CEO InselAir Filiatreault starts next week". 14 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "Venezuela not in InselAir's 'Back to Basics' plan". 2 March 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  23. ^ "Destinations - InselAir". fly-inselair.com. 
  24. ^ "InselAir Paving Its Way To The Future". curacaochronicle.com. 
  25. ^ "Route map". fly-inselair.com. 
  26. ^ "Partner airlines". www.fly-inselair.com. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  27. ^ "KLM and InselAir To Initiate Code-Sharing". KLM and InselAir To Initiate Code-Sharing. 
  28. ^ "KLM suspends codeshare agreement with InselAir". 17 November 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  29. ^ "Cooperation InselAir and KLM restored". 5 December 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  30. ^ ch-aviation.com - Insel Air retrieved 19 December 2015
  31. ^ ch-aviation.com - Insel Air Aruba retrieved 19 January 2016
  32. ^ "Travel classes, fare rules & seating plans". fly-inselair.com. 
  33. ^ "Incident: Insel MD82 near Santo Domingo on Aug 29th 2015, engine fire indication". avherald.com. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  34. ^ "Incident: Insel MD82 near Santo Domingo on Sep 2nd 2015, engine shut down in flight". avherald.com. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  35. ^ "Incident: Insel MD82 at Sint Maarten on Nov 18th 2015, engine shut down in flight". avherald.com. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  36. ^ "InselAir flight makes precautionary landing". 14 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  37. ^ "Weekend of crisis in the Curaçao aviation". 30 January 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Insel Air at Wikimedia Commons