How to stay dry walking in the rain.

Aruba is an expert at that.

Somehow, we avoided the shortage of toilet-paper during the pandemic, our shelves were always stocked, we had a sufficient supplies of hand sanitizer, masks, and vaccines. The big Blue Bird continued to fly with food and stuff, and we never really felt the global distribution crunch.

Even the avocado crisis, a few years ago was resolve satisfactorily, by importing the fruit from elsewhere, as the border with Venezuela closed.

When there is no bread, we eat cake. We always have plan B.

One Happy Island.

Recently we heard that KLM is reducing the number of flights to Curacao by 50%, which means they go from two a day, to one, and their tourism GREATLY depends on the Dutch market.

They never managed to claim the US market, the way Aruba did.

And we sympathize. Aruba was ditched by a number of airlines before; it is always a clear and present danger.

What happened?

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is experiencing major difficulties in past months, not enough pilots, not enough baggage handlers, not enough cabin personnel, and not enough desk people.

They let go a great number of people in 2020 and when they were positioned to rehire, the pickings were slim.

I went through Schiphol twice in 2022, both times it seemed a bit chaotic, nothing like before.

From the news: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is implementing a re-organization, which will see changes in its management structure… the reorganization will allow it to face the future as an efficient and robust organization.

Amen, with the goal of restoring its status as Europe’s favorite airport.

My sources: KLM has various operational challenges at the moment: Schiphol’s challenges, ground-handling company challenges and pilot/crew challenges. Also, other long haul leisure destinations are opening up, hence why they need their larger equipment back on those routes. All of this causes re-directs in their network planning which is having its effect on for example, the Curacao operations.

 

Curacao which has aggressively been expanding its tourist product will be struggling, talking to TUI to try to pick up the slack. The Curacao Prime Minister predicts significant economic setbacks and urged the Dutch government to pressure KLM. Alas, with little success.

KLM is a business, an independent entity, motivated by the needs of the company, not the island.

The Dutch government says it will be monitoring the situation, that’s the best they can do!

Curacao Tourist Board visited Aruba over the weekend, promoting the destination, and the new director Muryad de Bruin, admitted the island is disappointed by the development but stressed the relationship with KLM is excellent. Of course, what else can he say.

Crying in front of the camera, is out of the question.

This is just a reminder how vulnerable we are as islands, and how fast we must diversify our economy,

But, relax for now, my airline sources report that flights to Aruba and Bonaire remain intact.

Aruba also escaped the Dutch aanwijzing, meaning the explicit instructions, it was threatened with by the Dutch government via our financial supervisors. Apparently sufficient changes were made in the budget, which neutralized the threat.

Saved by the bell, walking in the rain without getting wet has been elevated to a political art in Aruba. GOA can now maintain its spending. The current Dutch State Minister shows little appetite for confrontation, unlike his predecessor.

GOA promised that down the road they will show a budget surplus, perhaps not now, but under the next government, for sure. 😊

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October 24, 2022
Rona Coster