SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - The Princess Juliana International Airport has been buzzing these past few days, thanks to several visits from the Ilyushin Il-76, from VolgaDnepr Airlines.
Specializing in the transportation of oversize, heavy and unique air cargo, the Ilyushin Il-76 has been contracted by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports from the Netherlands to transport Hospitainers to the island.
The hospitainers, which will be erected in Sint Maarten, as well as Sint Eustatius, are containerized isolation centers designed to offer primary healthcare and will mainly be used for persons infected with the Coronavirus COVID-19.
On Sunday morning the first 60ft Hospitainer arrived for the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), onboard the Ilyushin Il-76 having left Maastricht in the Netherlands the previous day. With commercial activity at Princess Juliana International Airport coming to a standstill following local and international travel restrictions, the presence of cargo carriers, such as the Ilyushin Il-76, is a welcoming sight, albeit under less desirable circumstances.
Today’s arrival and shipment clearance went without a hitch, thanks to some out-of-the box thinking by representatives of Safe Cargo Services and Menzies Aviation, in the absence of a large forklift onsite.
The hospitainer was transported to the SMMC shortly after arrival and will be fully outfitted with the Intensive Care Unit (ICY) beds, ventilators, and other medical equipment currently housed under the mobile medical pavilion at the SMMC, strengthening their capacity and capabilities to care for persons infected with the Coronavirus COVID-19.
With more Hospitainers for Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius scheduled to arrive later this week, this adds assurance to the island’s capabilities to provide the needed care during this pandemic. We wish to remind the public, that all of us must continue to do our part to prevent the further spread of the virus, by practicing good hygiene and following the safety and prevention guidelines, including social distancing, so as to minimize any further impact and disruption of our daily lives, said Brian Mingo, Chief Executive Officer - PJIAE N.V.