Surinam Airways Boss Suspended Over 777 Decision

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Surinam Airways is an airline that has intrigued me for quite a while. The airline has a single A340-300 that they use for their long haul flights, between Paramaribo and Amsterdam.

The plane is over 20 years old, and previously flew for China Southwest Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and Air China. The airline has only been flying the A340 since 2015. Prior to that — from 2004 through 2010 — Surinam Airways had a Boeing 747-300 that they used for transatlantic flights.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about Surinam Airways’ plans to refresh their fleet. The airline had signed a lease agreement for a Boeing 777-200ER, with the plan for them to take delivery of the plane in October 2019. This is a 777 that used to fly for Singapore Airlines, so it would represent a big passenger experience improvement.

This would replace their A340, and in the long run the airline was looking to eventually purchase a Boeing 787.

Airfleets even lists that the plane is headed to Surinam Airways.

While this plan seemed to be set in stone, it seems like this deal may not have been as widely agreed upon as we may have thought.

Surinam Airways’ director, Gerard Lau, has been suspended by the state owned carrier’s supervisory board. He was told that his contract will expire next week, just a year after he was appointed to the position.

What happened? Apparently he had entered into the agreement to acquire the 777 without fully consulting the supervisory board. Allegedly the supervisory board prefers a Boeing 787, and wasn’t onboard with this 777 plan.

It’s very strange that somehow this agreement was reached without full approval of the supervisory board, and it leaves me with a lot of questions. I’ll be curious to see if Surinam Airways does in fact follow through with their plans to acquire a 777, or what happens. Generally 787s aren’t as readily available as secondhand 777s, though I guess we’ll see…

(Featured image courtesy of Jules Meulemans)

  1. Now this blog covers staffing changes. Ben, stop doing the click bait stuff. It’s getting bad.

  2. I am genuinely shocked by the level of racism tolerated by this forum. Most of you were crying a river for Lucky wanting to visit western China one week ago. But now it’s ok if he demeans a brown country with an overtly racist article?

    Lucky – you benefit from living in one of the most gay friendly societies in the world. The least you could do with your online presence is to not spread seeds of racism like this article. The depths of your white privilege are disgusting!

    You should apologize immediately to all Indians!

  3. 787s are too small to move around for long trips, I also find them too light in turbulence. Not a promising change if downgrading from a 777. Would stick with the KLM 747 while it still graces this route.

  4. The problem with State owned airlines:
    1. Corruption
    2. Nepotism
    3. Mismanagement.

    Taking up a job in these airlines is akin to selling someone’s soul to the devil.

  5. It’s interesting read Lucky. Not as important for human kind as landing on the Moon, nevertheless, anything related to commercial passenger air carriers is something I find compelling. I never knew about Suriname, so it gave me a chance to read more about them, that otherwise I would never do.

  6. Hi Ben, as a Surinamese-born American citizen I am thrilled that at least someone covers the always problematic airline (if you can call it an airline) in a largely “invisible nation” with numerous socio-economic woes. Thank you for staying on top of it.

  7. @W, maybe I missed something while reading this article, but after a second read I still don’t see it. What are you talking about?

  8. @W umm… what? You should apologize to Lucky. Obviously you’re having a bad day, but that’s no reason for baseless attacks like that.

  9. Hey Pepe: My goodness, can’t you see that W was just joking? The real give-away is in the last line: Surinam, of course, is in South America, not India!

    The amusing non sequetur about gay rights was a nice touch as well.

    I thought the comment was actually pretty funny. Nice job, W!

  10. Does this mean that Surinam has their ETOPS certificate now? This was the primary reason they were flying 4 engine planes. This would be a significant step for this small airline.

  11. @J Munene you forgot pig ignorance
    Let them try finding a used 787 on the market (unless DK goes to the great hangar in the sky in which case all bets are off).

  12. @W – whatever else you may think about this article, I am not sure that calling it racist is in any way valid. Even in a world where people look for offence, I’m not sure you could find any in this at all! And It’s hardly as though you could escape criticism on that front (‘Brown Country” – really?). As a final point – as any regular reader of this blog will tell you, it’s not as though airlines (or their management) from the rest of the world escape criticism here, whatever else you accuse Lucky of, you couldn’t call him a fan boy for United, American, BA……………

  13. @ W what racism?

    To me this a purely factual article about what the Chief Exec of the airline did and that the Board overturned that decision because they hadn’t been consulted etc as they should have been.

    If I spent my employers money without authorisation I’d expect to be disciplined

    I see no mention of anyone’s race in the article.

    And as for your comment that the US is one of the most gay friendly societies that’s also nonsense. There are still many parts of the US where gay people still have few rights and are discriminated against.

  14. How does an ex-777-200ER aircraft be an improvement. Definitely the 787 would be.

    Surinam has a large Indian population. Who would have thought.

  15. In April the airline dumped a few passengers in Aruba after a delayed flight due to an emergency returned landing…mid air a door unlocked and was slightly open. The airline staff refused to assist us in suriname to find an alternative flights or the use of stable internet or to make a phone call. They told us that the Aruba office will assist with our connection. hours later to arrive in Aruba we were shouted at by a female supervisor that missing our two connecting flights was not her problem. And that we were lucky to be alive… To date the airline has not responded to our request for compensation.

  16. You get smarter by playing a smarter opponent deception perception 787 choses to remain as originally built by it’s manufacturer why you can’t recreate American muscle which chooses to stand alone why because the new model s have been currupted thru out the years not understanding what the old models always method of working thru the madness of the engine that operates still needs assistance in working even though the engine will still fly it can replace parts not because they need to rebuild the part to make it better and more efficient so that my brief take on that much love

  17. For those of us actually interested in Lucky’s interesting articles, @Lucky – thanks for keeping obscure airlines on your radar. It’s your blog, write about what pleases you.

    Regarding Surinam Airways… I fly them once a year for business and I am extremely interested in these updates. The first time I flew with them, Lucky’s blog was the ONLY place I could find any info about them.

    One of the commenters had an important question… Did they get ETOPS?!? This would be a big deal! I will be flying with them again in a few months and will be very anxious to know what equipment will be used and what business class to expect.

  18. The government did not suspend the director because he made an agreement to acquire a Boeing 777. He was actually trying to make an agreement with Airbus to acquire the a330-200. He did in-fact failed to consult the supervisory board about this since they preferred the Boeing 777/787 for their new fleet. But in my opinion the a330 would’ve been a better option for Surinam Airways because it has similar controls and a similar cabin to the a340. So there would not be any extra costs to train the pilots nor cabin crew for the new plane.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *