The Surinamese Aviation Company (SLM) recently announced that the Paramaribo – Amsterdam-Paramaribo route will again be flown three times a week from 20 July. This is to be done with a chartered aircraft from the relatively new, young airline Airhub Airlines, which is based on the island of Malta, a southern European microstat located in the Mediterranean.
Of course, many in the Surinamese community wonder how SLM will pay to rent the plane. After all, the company is strongly in the red, and a number of times even planes flying to SLM at, for example, the airport in Miami (Florida) were detained due to arrears. It is known that it is very difficult for SLM because it is known as a defaulter to be able to lease an aircraft anywhere in the world.
How is the lease paid by SLM?
The editors of Dagblad Surinam have of course approached the CEO of SLM, Paul de Haan, among other things with the question of how SLM is now suddenly able to pay rent for the device, where does the money come from? But there was no answer. Mr De Haan was also asked about the current situation regarding the so-called Recovery Plan – but neither did Mr De Haan answer that question. There is absolutely no transparency towards the population – well, the citizens are in fact the only ones who still keep SLM afloat. The airline’s external communications are still faltering, despite the recruitment of a so – called expert in the form of Hennah Draaibaar at the beginning of this year.
So it is now the small Airhub Airlines that will take the place of Air Belgium and the Spanish Wamos Air.
Who or what is Airhub Airlines?
Airhub Airlines is a sister company of GetJet Airlines in Lithuania and started passenger and cargo flights from July 2021. For this purpose, the company had purchased four Airbus A340-300. So it’s a fairly new airline.
The first A340-300 was a sixteen-year-old aircraft previously in service with the Air Tahiti Nui.
Airhub Airlines is part of Airhub Aviation in Lithuania. It specializes in maintenance and flight training and is affiliated with the charter company GetJet Airlines.
In late October 2021, it was announced that Airhub Airlines would start flying with the Airbus A340 from November. The first example, the 16-year-old A340-300, has been registered with the Maltese Aviation Registry and can be rented on freight charters.
A total of six widebody vehicles were scheduled to be put into service later that year, including at least four A340s. At that time, Airhub Airlines already had three Airbus A320s, which are used on passenger flights on behalf of third parties.
- A ‘widebody’ is an aircraft with two or more times in the normal passenger configuration. Widebody’s usually have a hull diameter of 6 meters or more. In such aircraft usually 7 to 10 passengers in a row on economy class. Such aircraft carry about 200 to 600 passengers.
The Maltese division of Airhub Aviation now has a modest fleet of Airbus A320, A330 and A340. The A330neo is the youngest aircraft in the fleet.
Airhub Aviation states on its website that strict safety standards, mature experience and superior quality are the backbone of its worldwide activities. Headquartered in Malta, Airhub Aviation offers a range of specialized aviation and aerospace industry services that, with extensive internal expertise, are brought together in a capacity that successfully meets even the most complex requirements and turnkey projects.
Airhub Aviation holding brings together five companies specializing in different aviation areas. “United by the same passion for the industry, we are recognized experts in ACMI, charter flights and cargo operations, air traffic control, aviation training, recruitment services and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul – maintenance, repair and overhaul).” A law (or ACMI1) lease means an agreement whereby the lessor makes available an aircraft, one or more complete crews (including engineers), all aircraft maintenance and insurance (both airframe and civil liability).
Next Wednesday, the first SLM flight with an Airhub Airlines unit to be performed on the Paramaribo-Amsterdam route will be reversed. The question is whether this small airline will be able to keep SLM in the air.