Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

Cooper: “How much did we pay to get Jetblue here?”

Charles CooperWILLEMSTAD – The member of the opposition party MAN and former Minister of Traffic, Transport and Urban Planning, Charles Cooper puts question marks around the recent announcement of the Minister of Economic Development, Stanley Palm. Minister Palm gave a press conference yesterday morning where he announced the new route New York – Curaçao operated by the American aviation company Jetblue.

“I took note of the Minister’s announcement. This is to applaud, because it could mean a boost for our tourism. But for me it is remarkable how the Minister did not mention the high price, the people of Curaçao have to pay for these flights,” Cooper said.

“I really hope that the Minister would inform our community, through the media, how much are we paying or how much will we pay per year for JetBlue to operate this route twice a week. My sources indicated to me that it’s about 3 to 5 million per year. If I’m wrong, please let me know how much it is exactly,” Cooper said.

Cooper also said that while the government does not have money for the University of Curaçao to help the students so they don’t have to pay, they are adding more debt by paying for these flights.

“I would like for the Minister to be more transparent with our people and explain the whole process. We need to know if this is good business or are we wasting money,” Cooper asked.

“We also need to Minister to explain why foreign carriers receive VIP treatment, just like Air Berlin in the past. But on the other hand, our own airline InselAir does not receive this kind of treatment. We will stay pending for this explanation and transparency about the whole JetBlue process. If the Minister does not explain, then the Parliament will have to ask for all the documents containing information about this process,” Cooper stated.

Minister Palm did not want to comment on what the MP said in the media, but he indicated that the funds for this new route and new airline for Curaçao comes from the hotels.

Cooper said that the hotels contribute only with a small portion of the funds needed in this process, but that it is the Curaçao Tourism Bureau (CTB) which contributes with the larger portion of these funds. “We just want to know how much CTB has to pay and also what the returns are for Curaçao,” Cooper stated.

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