InselAir has revealed plans to establish a new carrier based in Aruba aiming to launch service early next year as part of strategy to grow long-haul flights and expand in South America.

Initially InselAir Aruba plans inaugurate flights in January, building up flights

to the Caribbean and Central and South America including Cuba, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The airline already flies to some of those points from Curacao.

Carrier chief executive Albert Kluyver explained Aruba captures higher levels of point-to-point traffic than its Curacao base, and cited Aruba's strong brand recognition.

Kluyver said in the near future InselAir Aruba plans long-haul flights to Toronto and Sao Paulo, joining flights to Miami and Florida InselAir offers from Curacao.

The Boeing MD-83 aircraft InselAir plans to operate on the 6.5h flight to Toronto are flown with an engine modification designed to cut fuel burn by 10%, said Kluyver.

InselAir's operating fleet in 2012 will reach 13 aircraft - seven MD-80s (3 MD-83s, 4 MD-82s), three Fokker 50s purchased from KLM earlier this year and three Embraer Bandeirantes. One MD-83 and two of the Fokkers will be based in Aruba.

Kluyver is less worried about competitive pressure as InselAir embarks on an expansion and said the biggest challenges the airline faces are of the "regional and political nature", and include securing landing rights and favourable airport rates.

InselAir has no plans to stop with the launch of an operation from Aruba. Kluyver said the carrier is talking to different countries "for which there is large interest by them and us" to establish bases in those regions.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news