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Printed in The Daily Herald, Mon 17-Mar-2003

Promotion for first AirSintMaarten flight

PHILIPSBURG--AirSintMaarten, founded by a St. Maartener living in Holland, is promoting its first charter from Amsterdam to Philipsburg on April 20. Depending on the success of that first flight, the airline's founder Terrance Rey will engage in weekly flights as of May.

By staying well under the regular ticket price a one way ticket to St. Maarten costs 399 euros and a round trip ticket 599 euros. Rey is hoping to draw more attention to his island in Europe. He is also doing this through intensive campaigning on TV, promotion of St. Maarten artists, at a large show in Amsterdam and by sending out thousands of e-mails.

The first flight, on April 20 and carried out by a European charter company, will focus on Carnival. With a capacity of 440 passengers AirSintMaarten is expected to bring several hundred tourists to the island in connection with this event.

The Boeing 747 will be picking up the group again on May 4. If there is sufficient demand, AirSintMaarten will execute an extra flight on April 27. The necessary permits have already been arranged with aviation authorities, according to Rey.

Depending on the demand, the airline will be offering weekly direct flights on Sundays after May 4. Between July 6 and September 15, the flights will be every Monday. Because a Boeing can't take off fully loaded in St. Maarten, the plane will make a fuel stop in the Cape Verde Islands on the way back to Amsterdam.

More than 70 persons have booked for the first flight to date, partly through the Website "The response has been good," Rey told The Daily Herald. He is expecting more bookings, especially through the commercial five times a day on one of the music channels on Dutch TV, "The Box," which started March 14 and will run for four weeks.

Rey, a specialist in the area of e-mail marketing who has been living in Holland for 15 years, said he had already been in contact with the St. Maarten Carnival Committee about promotional material that he would distribute in Holland.

To further promote St. Maarten in general and the airline in particular, Rey is sponsoring well-known artist Kelvin from Aruba. Kelvin, whose last name is Jean Baptiste, has family in St. Maarten, has had several successful tours in Holland and Germany and in the next four weeks will be touring Holland again.

AirSintMaarten will also have a stand at one of the largest fairs in Holland, the "Huishoudbeurs" in Amsterdam from March 28 to April 8. Some 500,000 persons interested in travelling will be getting e-mails about the new airline. In addition, Rey will be sponsoring 11 artists from St. Maarten and one from St. Eustatius living in Holland.

The airline's launching was celebrated in Rotterdam February 28. Rey's earlier initiatives included the e-mail company Reply Services, bought by the M+ Group of Alphen aan den Rijn in 2002.

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