By Ray Chickrie
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Surinam Airways (SLM) has taken steps to abandon costly four-engine planes for twin-engine. By year-end, SLM will fly an ex- Singapore Boeing 777-200 on its Paramaribo/Amsterdam route. Its pilots have been taking training from Boeing, while the company sealed the deal with Suriname promising to ‘improve the country’s option of becoming Etops certified’.
Eventually, SLM wants to fly the Boeing 787 and plans to do so in a few years. The lease hasn’t been made public, but it may last for two years only. In the past, SLM has flown the Boeing 707, the 747 and currently the Airbus 340.
The Suriname Civil Aviation Authority (CASAS) is receiving training at the Boeing Training Centre in the United States. This is part of the certification process for the national airline to be certified for twin-engine operation on its Paramaribo/Amsterdam route.
Anjulio Wolf and Dennis van Genderen have returned from the Boeing headquarters after being certified in training. Also, two weeks ago, pilots from SLM arrived in the US to begin training for flying the Boeing 777.
SLM is aiming to replace the Airbus 340 with the Boeing 777 on the mid-Atlantic route by mid-November. The aircraft has already been painted with the logo and colours of SLM.
The Boeing 777-200 was first flown by Singapore Airlines in 2002 and was temporarily registered with Air New Zealand.
The 777 is an improvement from the Airbus 340 in terms of passengers’ comfort. The aircraft features 271 seats, including 26 business class seats and the rest are economy. SLM hasn’t issued a statement, of intention to refurbish or upgrade the inflight entertainment system.
SLM chief executive officer, (CEO) Radjesh Radjkoemar told the media that the company is looking towards partnerships to improve its positioning in the aviation sector. This means that the number of flight routes will be extended. And with the arrival of the Boeing 777, will create more possibilities for the company.
Meanwhile, SLM is filing the necessary paperwork to enter the New York and Toronto market via Georgetown where the airline wants to expand its network.