St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport reopened its doors this Tuesday and resumed commercial operations.
The airport had been closed since the island and neighbors in the northeastern Caribbean were lashed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Located by Simpson Bay, Maho and Cupecoy in Dutch St Maarten and within easy reach of Terres Basses in French St Martin, Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the most important transport hubs in the Caribbean region for onward flights to the islands of Anguilla, St Barts, St Kitts & Nevis, Guadaloupe and Dominica.
As part of reconstruction efforts, authorities have been determined to get back to business as soon as possible.
Several airlines including Delta, American Airlines, KLM, Pawa Dominicana, Seaborne, InselAir and Winair have all announced plans to relaunch flights to St Maarten, although in many cases with a reduced schedule and frequency.
The reopening of the airport will provide a helping hand to the St Maarten real estate and tourism sectors, but there is still quite a way to go before the market returns to its pre-hurricane position.
“The damage to PJIA was severe and no quick fix could have been applied. Even as we open our airport, we are still months away from restoring PJIA to its former glory,” Hon. Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs, said.
“We are in discussion with all of the airlines about resumption of service to St Maarten. St Maarten as a destination has been hit hard and the road to recovery is long, but we still do have some hotel inventory that can be serviced and we still want potential investors here. Basically, the message we want to send to the world is we are resilient, we are open for business and we look forward to welcoming you back,” the Minister added.