Friday, December 18, 2015

Opinion: Island Airlines and Cape & Islands Air Freight

Island Airlines crash lands 

We propose a new law, or at least a strict new business regulation, that requires any for-profit commercial enterprise that serves the public interest to give at least 30 days notice before closing its doors.

Today's culprit: Island Airlines and Cape & Islands Air Freight, which closed down without warning at Barnstable Municipal Airport last Friday. 

Increased ferry service to the island was partly to blame for the company's closure.

Noah Karberg, public information coordinator for Nantucket Memorial Airport, said the loss of Island Airlines and its freight arm was a blow to residents, visitors and businesses there.

“They were the main air taxi provider,” he said. “And we are concerned about freight. They were a crucial link, a lifeline for spare parts" and other necessities.

Bringing in another airline to pick up the slack isn’t easy, he said. Island Airlines and its freight company used a separate hangar, had its own parking lot, and a system for securely moving goods from its planes to its facilities and then to customers. All of that is off limits until bankruptcy proceedings are resolved.

Now the two airports are scrambling to find alternatives, and Cape Air is working hard to help.

“We knew something was afoot,” said airport Manager Roland “Bud” Breault. “We knew for a while that they’ve been having some financial difficulties.”

If that is the case, the airport should have planned for the possibility of an overnight shutdown. And if Islands Air really cared about the Cape and Nantucket communities, it would have worked with the airports, Cape Air and other partners to better prepare to fill the gap.


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