Will Cape Air Nudge Out Vieques Air Link and Air Flamenco?

According to the Overseas Review, the National Independent Hostonian Movement (NIHM) co-president Héctor Pesquera denounced that the Unites States Federal Aviation Agency has prohibited Vieques Air Link and Air Flamenco from transporting passengers to the municipality-islands of Vieques and Culebra, alleging that both airlines may only provide services for chartered flights.

Pesquera condemned this intervention as an “imperialist meddling, an attack against our citizen’s freedom to move between the municipality-islands and the main island. It is an abuse of power that demonstrates, once again, the negligence of Puerto Rico Governor Fortuño’s government dealing with defending what is ours.” Pesquera informed that both “mortally wounded” airlines distributed layoff letters to more than 100 workers, increasing the already large numbers of the unemployed on the island. He added that the FAA’s prohibition has the purpose of handing over the flight routes of both Puerto Rican airlines to Cape Air, a North American airline that offers regional services in New England, the Florida Keys, the Caribbean, and Micronesia. Cape Air is already working in the Caribbean, transporting passengers from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas, St. Croix, Anguilla and Tortola, and from San Juan, Ponce, and Mayagüez to Vieques.

Vieques Air Link and Air Flamenco are local (Puerto Rican) businesses that have been transporting passengers between the municipality-islands and the main islands for years. The Overseas Review post states that Vieques Air Link began operating in 1965 and was able to overcome the loss of its airplane fleet after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. In 2008, it started to use the José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba, which reduced to about seven or eight minutes the flying time from Vieques to the main island. Air Flamenco has been flying between Culebra, Vieques, the main island, the Lesser Antilles and the Dominican Republic since 1998.

For full article, see http://overseasreview.blogspot.com/2010/08/restrictions-on-puerto-rico-owned.html

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