SIMPSON BAY - Passengers departing from the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, will as from Friday, February 9th, 2018 have a much improved experience as they will be leaving from the Temporary Departure Pavilion which has been erected to enhance their comfort.
The Pavilion, which will be officially inaugurated at 10:30 this Friday morning, is fully air-conditioned and will replace the luggage processing area previously used as Departure Hall.
See below the speech by the Acting CEO and CFO, Ravi Darayanani.
“Good morning Honorable Prime Minister, Stakeholders and all invited guests:
“As I stand here today, I am reminded of the saying “FALLING DOWN IS A PART OF LIFE. GETTING BACK UP IS LIVING”
“September 6, 2017, is a date that will be etched in our minds for many years to come. The island of St. Maarten took a direct hit by the largest hurricane in history, Hurricane Irma that crippled our community and businesses.
“Immediately after the storm, the country was placed on a mandatory curfew, the Dutch military took control of the airport to administer evacuation flights, and there were limited supplies and repair materials on the island. Recovery efforts were also disrupted by the threat of Hurricane Jose and the torrential rainfall from Hurricane Maria. Like many, Princess Juliana International Airport, was down, but we were not out.
“Despite the many challenges, Princess Juliana International Airport’s management and staff, persevered by addressing the required safety and security requirements needed to obtain Civil Aviation’s approval to re-open operations. This happened in a mere 34 days. Although it seemed like an eternity at the time, re-opening the airport in such a short-time frame is a monumental achievement, for which we should applaud the dedication and hard work demonstrated by Mr. Hyman, our COO, all the employees, and 3rd parties who made this happen.
“In early December, night operations resumed, again as a result of the hard work to install the required runway lighting. Remember, airport operations are complex, and the Princess Juliana International Airport must adhere to a number of safety, aviation, and regulatory requirements….
“It’s not as simple as just opening our doors for business. But we also understand what our airport represents. It is not only a critical part of the strategic infrastructure of the island, it is also a symbol of our progress. The airport started as a small airfield back in the 1940’s and developed over time into an award-winning international airport and the second largest hub in the region. The people of St. Maarten are proud of this facility, because it stands as testament to our aspirations as a nation.
“Hurricane Irma, while devastating, is only a bump in our road to an even bigger and brighter future. We have started our comeback and where we are today, dedicating these temporary facilities that will accommodate visitors and residents is because of a team effort.
“I would like to commend our management team and our airline partners for their collaboration in the ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts. Their collective efforts have been essential in keeping St. Maarten and our neighboring islands “Open for Business”.
“We have a long road ahead of us. It will take time to restore our iconic terminal building. While we work on that milestone, we can take a moment to celebrate an important step in the process. Today we celebrate the grand opening of our new temporary departure pavilion. Our temporary facility provides approximately 8,000 square feet of space to accommodate 315 seats, 11 concessionaires, 17 airline check-in booths, 2 sets of restrooms, security screening, transit processing, and emigration processing, all in an enclosed air-conditioned environment.
“With this facility, we strive for operational effectiveness, while simultaneously providing our passengers with an enhanced experience. In a few weeks, the Princess Juliana International Airport will also install a new temporary arrival pavilion.
“These two pavilions will serve to represent the “SXM” destination while we work on bringing back our pride and joy, the Princess Juliana International Terminal Building.
“We continue our recovery efforts “en route to new horizons” and in the not too distant future, we will come together for another celebration; the re-opening of a better and stronger terminal facility.
“Thank you for celebrating with us today. We are grateful for your continued support and patience as we rebuild.”