PHILIPSBURG–A Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) holding company PJIAH stakeholder meeting is to be convened soon and will discuss developing a fixed-based operator (FBO) building, relocating the current fuel farm, and obtaining a United States (US) pre-clearance facility, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever told Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday during the meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament that discussed issues related to the airport.
De Weever emphasised that the items up for discussion in the stakeholder meeting are “longer-term strategic objectives”.
Except for the main terminal reconstruction project, all other capital projects at the airport have been shelved, PJIA operating company PJIAE chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Mingo told MPs.
“The FBO building was tendered, and the supervisory board gave final approval to enter into a contractual agreement in August 2017. … A ground-breaking was made shortly after [Hurricane – Ed.] Irma, in November 2017,” said Mingo.
While private companies had expressed interest in financing the FBO building, Mingo said PJIAE had decided to bankroll the project using its own money. “Due to the financial challenges of the airport after Hurricane Irma, and consequently due to The COVID-19 crisis, the FBO project has been put on hold. … PJIAE [still] recognises the importance of this project, together with fuel farm,” he said.
De Weever stressed that any infrastructural projects should not get in the way of the terminal’s reconstruction. “These infrastructural investments, however, are to be pursued in a manner that does not impede or slow down the necessary reconstruction of the airport’s main terminal building and its current contractual obligations,” she said.
She also shared some of the challenges in relocating the fuel farm.
“In order to build the [new] fuel farm, the [airline] catering facilities need to relocate to a new location in Maho. This requires additional investments in parking facilities for the catering trucks and further outfitting of the new facilities.
“The move will also require excavation works of the Maho ridge to create the additional space. Both parties, Sol and GB Energy, expressed interest in the fuel farm prior to the COVID-19 crisis. However, PJIAE needs to first move the catering facilities to Maho in order for this to follow through,” she said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/airport-stakeholder-meeting-to-be-convened-soon-says-de-weever