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InselAir is an international airline based at Hato International Airport in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. The airline provides scheduled service to destinations throughout South America, the Caribbean, the US and Europe. InselAir also operate regional subsidiary; InselAir Aruba.
Location of InselAir main hub (Curacao Hato International Airport)
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Beleaguered Caribbean Airlines is exiting highly unprofitable trans-Atlantic operations in early 2016 when it ends service from its Port of Spain hub in Trinidad to London Gatwick. The airline resumed London flights in 2012 but struggled to compete against European carriers.
The route should arguably have ceased at least two years ago as Caribbean Airlines has been loss making for years amidst pilot unrest, numerous executive changes and increased competitive pressure on key North American routes. Part of the reasoning for cutting the long-haul flights is to compete more strongly with LCCs on strategic North American routes including Fort Lauderdale, New York and Toronto.
Caribbean Airlines finally appears to be taking some rational steps toward achieving profitability as subtle shifts are occurring in the aviation landscape within the region. As Caribbean Airlines shrinks in the hopes of turning a profit, the already profitable InselAir Group is becoming a powerful force in the Caribbean with its latest push from hubs in Curacao and Aruba.
Caribbean airline group InselAir pursues more rapid expansion with 14 new routes from Aruba, Curacao
Caribbean airline group InselAir is pursuing further network expansion with 14 new routes and seven new destinations in 2H2015. InselAir is launching four routes from its original Curacao base and 10 new routes from its newer Aruba base as it places into service additional aircraft.
The group has significantly expanded its Fokker 50, Fokker 70 and MD80 fleets over the last year as it has acquired eight second hand aircraft. InselAir is now planning further fleet expansion by acquiring four more Fokker 70s and one additional MD80. It is also looking at potentially acquiring several A319s, a new type which would open up new medium-haul routes including to Argentina and Brazil.
Curacao-based Insel has already become the second largest airline group in the Caribbean, having grown consistently since launching in 2006. The family-owned group is poised to continue growing rapidly as its Aruba subsidiary, which launched in late 2013, spools up and a potential third hub at Saint Maarten is established.
InselAir is planning more rapid expansion as the Curacao-based airline group adds six aircraft over the next two months for a total of 17. The additional capacity will mainly be used to expand the group’s new Aruba base, where InselAir has five routes, but further expansion in Curacao is also planned.
The group’s network will soon reach 20 destinations following the recent and upcoming launch of services to Georgetown in Guyana, Barranquilla in Colombia and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Several more destinations are being eyed for 2H2014 which would extend the network to Brazil, Cuba and Ecuador.
The expansion follows growth of over 20% in 2013, when the group focused on growing existing routes from Curacao in response to opportunities created as local competitors cut capacity and exited. Traffic will likely again grow at least another 20% in 2014.
Curacao-based airline group InselAir is finally ready to launch a new airline subsidiary in Aruba after one year of regulatory delays. InselAir also aims to launch a third airline on the island of Saint Maarten in 2013, in line with its ambition to establish a pan-Caribbean airline group.
InselAir Aruba plans to commence services within the next few weeks and launch several routes over the next few months including to Havana, Manaus, Miami, Quito, San Juan and several points in Venezuela. The carrier is now targeting to carry a significant number of passengers between Miami and Venezuela, an important market for InselAir in Curacao and other Caribbean carriers as there is insufficient non-stop capacity in Miami-Venezuela market to meet demand. InselAir Aruba will also take over some of the frequencies between Aruba and Curacao that are now operated by its sister carrier.
Brazil's Gol has shifted the focus of its plans to re-launch US flights by applying for one-stop service to Miami and Orlando via Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic after its attempts to serve Miami via Caracas were denied by the Venezuelan government. Gol’s failed attempt results in American Airlines and Venezuela's Santa Barbara Airlines retaining a duopoly in the US-Venezuela market, and a less desirable route for pick-up traffic for Gol through Santo Domingo.
The decision by the Venezuelan government appears to reflect a trend by the country’s authorities to deny South American airlines access to the US through Caracas. Aerolineas Argentinas earlier this year attempted unsuccessfully to secure authority to route its new second daily Buenos Aires-Miami frequency through Venezuela’s capital. Aerolineas will now launch the new flight as a non-stop service in Dec-2012 (it already operates one daily non-stop between Buenos Aires and Miami).
Meanwhile, smaller Caribbean carriers are trying to fill the void in the under-served US-Venezuela market by offering more one-stop connections via the Caribbean to circumvent the restrictive air transport agreement between the US and Venezuela.
Curacao-based InselAir is planning to launch a sister carrier in Aruba in 1Q2012, the first step towards potentially establishing a pan-Caribbean airline group. InselAir is also planning to add two MD83s in 1Q2012, including an aircraft modified to operate flights of up to six hours, which will be used to launch service to Sao Paulo.
InselAir CEO Albert Kluyver says InselAir Aruba will launch services in Jan-2012 with an initial fleet of one MD83 and two Fokker 50 turboprops. The group has identified 10 routes for the new carrier but Mr Kluyver says InselAir Aruba will initially serve only four destinations: Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela. He says six routes are expected to be operated within the first year, including Brazil and Ecuador.
Future planned destinations for InselAir Aruba include Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. “We will focus our growth in Aruba,” Mr Kluyver says.