The Netherlands gives away lucrative Curaçao route to Qatar Airways
SCHIPHOL - KLM and Schiphol will soon receive a formidable competitor on the route to Curaçao. With a new aviation treaty, Qatar Airways will be allowed to fly unlimited to the island. As a result, Asian passengers can choose the Middle East route above Schiphol. This is according to the Dutch aviation site luchtvaartnieuws.com.
Curaçao has been a popular holiday island for years with Dutch, Germans, Belgians and Americans. From Asia, there are more and more travels for business. Especially Chinese people are investing heavily in the island and are therefore a growing target group.
If Qatar Airways decides to actually start operations between Doha and Curaçao, KLM and Schiphol threaten to miss the important Asian clientele towards the island.
From the Dutch Parliament questions have been asked about the treaty. For example, VVD MP Remco Dijkstra wants the guarantee from Minister Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) that Qatar Airways cannot fly from Schiphol to Curaçao under the treaty.
Whether and when Qatar Airways will fly to Curaçao is not clear; the airline cannot answer that question yet. The airline is already operating flights between Schiphol and Doha and competed on that route wth the KLM.