Published On: Mon, Mar 25th, 2013

DAE will resume its operations to Maracaibo once it can offer the accustomed services

DAEWILLEMSTAD – Recently it was in the news that the Venezuelan aviation authorities did not extend DAE’s permit to operate flights between Curacao and Maracaibo. This was announced during the weekend by the President of INAC, which is the Venezuelan Civil Aviation Authorities, Mr. Fransisco Paz Fleitas. This measure came after INAC has received various complaints from passengers about the on time performance of the Curacao aviation company, Dutch Antilles Express (DAE).

In the first place, DAE recognized that the company was not able to offer the optimal service to the passengers originating from Maracaibo and that is why DAE accepts this measure. “We at DAE recognize our fault and we also admit that it is because we had assumed for a better cooperation between the CCAA in which they had to certify our ATR-72, which has been parked at the airport for three weeks now, we could have continued operating the Curacao-Maracaibo routs without any problems,” Nelson Ramiz of DAE explained. “This new aircraft costs us 75 thousand dollars per month and the pilots about 10 thousand per month, while the aircraft is not even being used.”

For the Venezuelan destinations there are two types of permits. One is the regular permit or the scheduled flights and the other is the non regular permit or the non scheduled flights. The Caracas destination for example is operated with a regular permit. The Maracaibo route is operated with a temporary non permit since July of 2012. This temporary permit is renewed every 30 days.

We operate this route till December 2012 without any problems. Then we had some technical issues with our aircrafts. Now these aircrafts are going through their scheduled overhauls or c-check in Mexico. As we have indicated before, DAE has one brand new aircraft sitting at Hato waiting for inspection. DAE has also two other aircraft in Miami waiting to be flown to Curacao to become part of the aviation company.

DAE’s  adding to its operation specifications to Venezuela, the three MD’s that they have from its sister company Falcon Air. There is a process that will take about 15 to 20 days. Through this DAE will be able to prove to the Venezuelan authorities that it has the equipments to renew its flights to Maracaibo.

In the meantime DAE is using wet lease agreement with other aviation companies to transport its passengers to and from Maracaibo. Also DAE will charter with whichever company that has aircrafts available to continue servicing this routs. At this moment DAE is leasing from Insel Air and paying about 20 thousand dollars for a flight that normally cost 12 thousand dollars. This means that DAE is paying about 8 thousand dollars more just to continue covering the route. Passengers are also being taken care of were DAE provides hotel and free vouchers.

Since July, INAC has given DAE a temporal non regular permit. Of course DAE continued selling tickets since it thought that the permit will continue to be extended. DAE continued selling tickets since July of last year. The other local airline company had the same problem last year with its Curacao - Barquisimeto route. Their permit was not extended. The only solution will be then to lease an aircraft from another company and continue servicing the route. In any case, DAE has requested a meeting with Venezuelan authorities to clarify the situation and to also take corrective measures to ensure service to the passengers and to also clarify about the situation with the temporal permit.

During the high season, Venezuelan authorities inspects aircrafts flying in their territories. This is their right and their responsibility of which we don’t have a problem at all. In the contrary, we applaud this action because it guarantees quality. So, this action is not only directed towards DAE. This inspection happened during this weekend with one of DAE’s aircrafts in Valencia. They found a small leak of hydraulic in the aircraft’s tail. This was repaired and the plane was able to renew its flights. It’s also good to mention that the other local airline also had inspection done to the aircraft during this weekend. DAE is grateful for this inspection because it keeps us on target which is to make the airline  much better one.

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