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As you might know by now, sustainable air travel between the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands is a topic we cherish at Future Islands. As part of our first “Opportunities to make the Caribbean more sustainable” webinar series last summer, we dedicated one entire episode to the topic of inter-island aviation in the region, and we’ve also been following the evolution of E-Flight, the Dutch electric aviation start-up that opened the Caribbean region’s first electric flight school ever, for a while now, just to give you a few examples. In that light, we were happy to recently hear and read that the Dutch Cooperation of Caribbean Airports (DCCA) has created a specialized Task Force focused on improving the connectivity between the islands in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
The DCCA Task Force
As explained on its own website, the DCCA is essentially “a cooperation agreement between all 6 Caribbean Airports within the Kingdom of the Netherlands”, those airports being Schiphol Airport in the European Netherlands, Queen Beatrix Airport in Aruba, Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten, Hato International Airport in Curaçao, Yrausquin Airport in Saba, and FD Roosevelt Airport in Statia. The new Task Force is an initiative of the DCCA and consists of aviation experts from the airports of Aruba, Schiphol, Sint Maarten and Curaçao, while Saba and Statia proposed a joint expert. Together, they need to come up with a new strategic plan for more affordable, more efficient, and more sustainable air travel between the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands.
Besides that, the Task Force will also provide advice in regard to necessary legal and regulatory policy adjustments. All of this needs to lead to more affordable air travel between the islands, which is beneficial for their local economies and the region’s overall capacity to sustain itself. The Task Force is led by a special committee, called a “Voortgangscommissie” in Dutch, which translates roughly to a Continuation Committee. This Committee is formed by the directors of the six involved airports, including Joost Meijs from the Aruba Airport Authority who honored us with a presentation for our first webinar series (see link in article intro), and the “Regiegroep Luchtvaart voor de Koninkrijkslanden” (Directing Groep Aviation for the Countries of the Kingdom). Our very own Felix Greving and the Fundashon Mariadal are actually very closely involved with the Regiegroep.
Caribbean innovation hub
A major focus of the Task Force is the potential of more sustainable air travel in the Dutch Caribbean to improve inter-island connectivity. The experts will be researching the feasibility of sustainable air travel and the ambition is to set up an inter-island innovation hub for sustainable aviation as well. This would encourage and facilitate the use of emission-free flights for the whole region. Seeing as the Task Force has only recently been announced, many of the details still need to be worked out, but a more extensive presentation on its methods and objectives is expected later this year.
The basis for this article was originally published on www.curacao.nu and others in February 2023.