Consultation open on BES Aviation Act amendment

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management IenW is preparing an amendment to the BES Aviation Act. This amendment provides a legal basis for establishing a public service obligation (PSO) on certain aviation routes. Anyone can comment on the bill until July 26.

With the proposed leg­islative change, the IenW Minister will have the au­thority to establish a PSO on specific routes within the Caribbean Nether­lands and between the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands and the other parts of the Kingdom.

This means that in the future, through ministerial regulation, the minister can impose conditions on airlines flying on a specific air transport route. These conditions are, for ex­ample, a maximum ticket price, a minimum number of flights, a certain number of seats per flight and the guarantee of continuity of flights. The minister may also choose to select one airline  through a tender process to operate these flights.

The main focus of these potential public service ob­ligations will be on improv­ing connectivity between the islands of the Carib­bean Netherlands and other parts of the King­dom, particularly between St. Maarten and Saba/St. Eustatius. These islands are largely dependent on air connections with St. Maarten for their accessi­bility. The public entities and residents have been pushing for a long time to improve accessibility. This is important for their eco­nomic and social develop­ment and also makes, for example, educational insti­tutions and hospitals more accessible.

The first step is now the consultation of the bill. Only when the law enters into force will it be pos­sible to establish a PSO. Then funding also has to be found for it. This will have to be decided by the new cabinet in the future. For more information on the proposed amendment and to submit comments on the bill, interested par­ties can visit Overheid. nl/Consultatie Wijziging Luchtvaartwet BES voor grondslag openbaredienst­verplichting (internetcon­ before the con­sultation period ends.

The Daily Herald.

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