The government of French St. Maarten obtained 60% ownership of Air Antilles

The Commercial Court of Pointe-à-Pitre has officially approved the acquisition of the assets of Air Antilles by a consortium consisting of the government of French St. Maarten and airport operator EDEIS. The decision comes after the CAIRE group, the parent company of Air Antilles and Air Guyane, went into bankruptcy proceedings.

Five groups came forward who wanted to take over the company for a restart. The court says in its decisions factors such as the credibility, expertise, and seriousness of the group in making its decision.

The company, officially named New Air Antilles, will be 60 percent publicly owned. The remaining 40 percent of the shares are for EDEIS. The aim of the two parties is to keep the activities of Air Antilles afloat and thereby guarantee connectivity for the inhabitants of the region.

Air Antilles has four aircraft in its new form, with the plan to add a fifth. 120 employees will join the new company. The focus will be on essential routes in the French Antilles, departing from Pointe-à-Pitre to Fort-de-France, St. Maarten (Grand Case), and St. Barths. The acquisition does not apply to the activities of Air Guyana, which operates in French Guiana.

Although Air Antilles developed favorably for years, the company ran into problems more than a year ago, caused, among other things, by defects found during an inspection by the French Aviation Authority and tensions between the shareholders and a large part of the employees. That led to a prolonged strike. In addition, last month an Air Antilles Twin Otter crashed into a helicopter parked on the platform on landing at St. Barths airport.

Air Antilles worked very closely with Winair until mid-2023, to whom it supplied aircraft with complete crew to operate flights between St. Maarten and the ABC Islands. Winair now operates these flights under its own name and with its own aircraft.

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