PHILIPSBURG – The original goal was to open the airport in November, but that goal won’t be met. The re-opening of the reconstructed Princess Juliana International Airport on Sint Maarten is planned for mid-December 2018. The airport, which was damaged and in disuse since hurricane Irma ravaged it in 2017, won’t be fully open to the public.
“We’re only opening the ground floor in December, where both the arrival and departure halls will temporarily be housed. At a later stage the first floor will also opened to the public, and the departure hall will move upstairs. The entire airport reconstruction project will be completed in 2020”, says Audrey St. Luce-Jack, the airport’s corporate communication specialist.
By Tim van Dijk (English subtitles aviable)
The big pavilions that were installed in February 2018 to function as a temporary structure for the airport, will be dismantled after the re-opening. Commodore N.V. which won the tender to reconstruct the airport, is currently working on phase one of the project, which has been dubbed ‘Package One-Temporary Operations’. This phase includes the construction of the temporary check-in counters, immigration and emigration facilities, offices, security, CCTV, luggage carousels, IT systems, and restaurants all of which are located on the ground floor.
Ballast Nedam is responsible for the roof repairs. If all goes to plan, the roof should be finished and hurricane resistant by January 2019.
More flights to Sint-Maarten
Airlines are feeling positive and are scheduling more flights to Sint Maarten. Since November 4th American Airlines has scheduled daily flights from Charlotte. Philadelphia and New York are also getting better connections starting on December 19th.
Tourism is still the main source of income for Sint Maarten. More flights to the island are important for both the reconstruction effort and the economic development of the island. Next to the airport, marinas and the harbor play an important role in attracting tourists to the island. On November 14th and November 28th 6 cruise ships will be docked in the harbor simultaneously for the first time since hurricane Irma.