I don't think KLM will drop Bonaire. The airport there is undergoing some major changes (They built catering buildings, built a large fuel depot, extended the runway with 300m, built a whole new departure terminal (which is very beautiful, I've been in it this year).
The flights operating to BON
used to operate to AUA and CUR
before as you already knew. We call them KLM's tail-end flights. Those flights are just to re-fuel and re-cater. The number of pax who were actually traveling to AUA/CUR
and now BON
are very insignificant. The only reason that BON
got those flights is because of the price that BON
could offer its services and that includes everything. There was a mini war between the three islands about who would get the flights. That already shows that AUA, BON
are very interchangeable. BON
put an offer on the table that KL
could not refuse to the dismay of AUA and CUR
. The hotel where the KL
crew lays over, the catering, the airport fees, the handling agent (Bon Air Services), the fuel company etc. all cooperated and it would be cheaper for KL
to operate their flights through BON
. So BON
won and the other islands were not happy. Of course KL
put down some conditions and a major one was a facility for transit pax, runway extension etc. Will that secure BON
forever...no it won't. CUR
was the angriest as there is where KLM's Area Management is based for all three islands. Our Regional Management is in CCS
. They moved some departments over to Ecuador now as there it is cheaper. The pax traveling to UIO/GYE/LIM
are mainly not from AMS
but from places like BCN
etc. I know, because I worked those flights in AUA, BON
. Yes the cargo is also important as Lj said, but if I go into CORDA/DODECO now (KL's reservation and Departure Control Systems) you can see that a high number of pax are continuing on to Spain and Italy on the KL
Main problem was that many persons took the drugs inside the stomach during the flight. Since then there is a special body scanner on Curacao.
There is no body scanner at CUR
anymore; they took it away.
And as far as the drugs go....yes it is a major problem, but not KLM's problem. When we get a "negatieve reis advies" (an advice not to transport certain pax, because of suspicion of potentially transporting drugs) from the authorities, we do not transport them....period! When Air Holland and Martinair were flying out of AUA to AMS
they also had drug mules on board. I get sick about thinking how many times we had to delay flights, because of pax and sometimes crew transporting drugs. When we still worked the UIO/GYE?LIM
flights, there were pax in-transit from those destinations walking around the airport building and they got caught with drugs too. There you go again at 3 in the morning having to offload containers to get to the bags of the pax. More delays! Recently I was in BON
to train some new Bon Air Services agents for KLM and I worked the nightshift a whole week and 4 times the flight had been held due to drug related problems. Once from a pax that boarded in BON
and three times from multiple pax in-transit from Ecuador/Peru.
Some time ago DCA
was under fire, because it seemed that they were transporting more couriers than KLM on average. Did DCA
do something different that KLM? Not really....but DCA
was at that time cheaper and hell yes....even drug couriers look for a good deal when it comes to purchasing tickets and DCA
KLM themselves threatened to seize flying to CUR
, because of mules dying aboard the aircraft, causing the company more money to divert. Money no one was going to refund to KL
Then the Dutch government said it would revoke DCA
rights of flying to AMS
if they didn’t reduce the number of couriers they were transporting. The CUR
government responded very simply...you stop DCA
, we stop KLM.
I cannot understand what the airline itself can do. I am speaking for both DCA
and KLM now....We check you in and ask you the standard questions...we get the transport advice from the authorities and follow it up..... the baggage scanners scan all baggage and the dogs do their thing......after that...well we board and haul @ss. What more can we do......The same problem that MP
have to or had to deal with, I can bet you 100% that Dutch Caribbean Exel will have to deal with too. Once there is a demand for it, it will continue and as The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are strategically a perfect trampoline between South America and Europe it will continue.
Just my 2 cents.
[Edited 2004-08-24 06:44:56]