Airport still going through challenging recovery period | THE DAILY HERALD

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AIRPORT–Princess Juliana International Airport(PJIA) is still going through a challenging recovery period and hopes to return to normalcy if all stakeholders involved work with the struggling airport, according to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Mingo on Wednesday.

Answering several questions from The Daily Herald, Mingo said the company had moved its operations back into its main terminal in December 2018 with a fitted operations area. At present PJIA handles 60 per cent of the number of passengers it processed in 2016.

“As a matter of fact, both months of 2019 recorded values of 63 per cent (January 2019) and 65 per cent (February 2019), which confirms that our projections are in line.

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“The specialised three-layered roof of the main terminal is nearly completed and will be final at the end of April, covering the complete 15,000 square metres of roofing.

The actual restoration of the main terminal has not yet started; the detailed planning and capital funding process is not complete,” said Mingo.

He cautioned that if anyone who is privileged to the airport’s project information and discloses amounts, plans or its strategic steps, whether correct or even overstated, can seriously compromise the progress and all the hard work the organisation has done over the last 18 months.

“PJIAE is in a very fragile situation which many of us do not understand,” he said.

“To this day, the project to restore the main terminal will cost the company over US $100 million. The required capital funding for which we now have a very attractive offer from both the European Investment Bank (EIB) and World Bank is not yet secured, and as airport we need to perform some more negotiations.

“The workgroups that are working out these details are specialists from [the airport operating company – Ed.] PJIAE, the St. Maarten government, the World Bank and the Dutch Government.

“Our aim is to conclude the financing and additional funding part within a few weeks. This will also cover our existing commitments and our monthly cash shortfall over the next 24 months.”

The completion of the terminal and new business model PJIAE 2020 are in the planning to be completed within the next 24 months. Details about insurance claims, insurance proceeds, funding and cost are all being dealt with. Any events or even comments that do not contribute to the restoration of the airport can be considered as misleading, damaging and even lead to cancellation of existing financiers, according to Mingo.

“What would this mean? The airport is one of the main engines of our economy. Without PJIAE our economy will not recover! As airport we cannot do it alone; we need all stakeholders to support our reconstruction efforts, our plans. The airport needs everyone on board – our employees, the unions, the contractors, the government, the financial institutions, the insurance companies, St. Maarten and The Hague. This also includes our media,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/85973-airport-still-going-through-challenging-recovery-period

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