INTERVIEW Curaçao Air Terminal Services N.V.

Company profile CATS:

Curaçao Air Terminal Services N.V. (CATS) is the pioneer in providing services to private aviation on Curaçao. The company started in 1983 with a handful of weekly operations but increased the private aviation traffic over time to approximately 3500 movements per year.  CATS has its headquarters in Curaçao and Sister Company in Cuba. They will be opening soon a new location in the Caribbean. The recently established, CATS Group, is a network of partners and alliances in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil.

Why invest in Curaçao? and Why did you decide to start an airline in Curaçao instead of any other island?

Concerning the aviation business model, Curaçao has a strategic location. The island serves as a convenient hub between South and North America. The founders identified this opportunity and decided to attract more private aviation towards the islands. One of the founders was a pilot and saw firsthand the lack of service for private aircrafts on Curaçao. This experience turned into an inspiration to establish a handling company. The founders lived and worked on Curaçao, making the island their first choice to start the business.

Which sectors are you currently more interested in for new investment?

Our core business is focused on aviation; therefore, our preference goes to new investments within this sector. Running a successful local company since 1983 has also provided us the opportunity to consult other companies

What is your opinion about Curaçao as a product – that is, what does the island have to offer to its visitors?

Curaçao holds more than the eye meets. The fact that we are a multi-cultural and multi-lingual society, defines us as an inviting country. Our product isn’t only Sea, Sun, and Sand. The bigger picture lies with the people, culture, diversity, history and strategic location of the island. When these elements are combined and presented unified and properly, Curaçao has a unique experience to offer for its visitors.

What could we expect from CATS in the next 5 years?

Part of our main goal for the next five years it to increase luxury tourism to the island, by working together with the local public and private sector. This group is an attractive segment for local companies as you are increasing your tourism with visitors who hold a significant spending power.  The other part of our main goal is to increase our corporate social responsibility. It is our company philosophy to create a balance between giving back and making a profit.

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Which were (or are) the obstacles that you have found as an investor?

If your business involves a niche market within tourism, it’s important to find out if your ideology is aligned with the public tourism organizations. The closer the business model lies with the overall tourism plan, the easier it will become to take part in the master plan. Working together with strategic partners has been one of the best things for the company and highly recommended.

What information would be important to acquire before investing?

Who are the organizations on the island with experience, insight, and support? Organizations such as CINEX and CIFA are great places to start if you are thinking about investing in Curaçao.

What information did you use before your investment?

One of the most important parts of starting the company was to find out why some private aircrafts were already operating on the island and use that insight to increase the market. With this information, CATS was able to inform the concerning organizations properly to obtain support and permits.

Where did you find useful information before investing?

All public organizations involved in aviation, mainly the civil aviation association, became of extreme importance for the research and development of this type of business.

What advice would you give to future investors?

If your business involves a niche market within tourism, it’s important to find out if your ideology is aligned with the public tourism organizations. The closer the business model lies with the overall tourism plan, the easier it will become to take part in the master plan. Working together with strategic partners has been one of the best things for the company and highly recommended.