Coronavirus delays airport’s reconstruction by 2 months | THE DAILY HERALD

AIRPORT–The new projected end date for the airport’s reconstruction is February 2023, two months longer than announced earlier this year. Princess Juliana International Airport operating company PJIAE Project Director Mirto Breel said on Monday that the delay is due to the coronavirus crisis.

Several months after PJIAE was granted US $100 million in St. Maarten Trust Fund and European Investment Bank (EIB) money, the bidding for the main phase of the terminal building’s reconstruction was slated to begin in March. However, as of early August, little of the funds have been spent and bidding documents for the initial works are just rolling out.

Parts of the building must undergo mould remediation before the main work can start on the terminal. Additionally, PJIAE must appoint a supervising engineer for the entire reconstruction project and hire a company to dispose of the waste generated by the mould remediation.

The tender for the mould remediation work was sent out in March but had to be pulled back due to the coronavirus crisis, said Breel. He also said several local contractors had complained that they were being excluded in the bidding process, and the delay allowed these companies the opportunity to enter bids.

The new mould remediation tender went out on July 27. So far, 21 companies have requested the tender documents, according to Breel. The contract is to be awarded on September 14, with work scheduled to begin on September 21.

The waste-disposal contract started the tender process on Monday, and thus far five local companies have requested the documents. The contract is to be awarded on September 21, with work beginning on September 28.

The tender for the supervising engineer went out on June 29. Breel said six international companies had requested the documents, adding that PJIAE wanted a company with experience in the aviation industry to manage the project. The contract for the supervising engineer is to be awarded on Wednesday.

Breel said mould remediation should be completed by January 2021. The main reconstruction work can start after this has been finalised. Tenders for the main project will roll out in September, and the contract will be awarded in March 2021. The main work is expected to start a month later.

Sections of the terminal building will come online as they are completed, said Breel. However, he said details on how non-operational parts of the building will be brought back into operation still have to be worked out. Part of the departure lounge is scheduled to reopen between late 2021 and early 2022.

The new terminal building will feature improvements to heighten the passenger experience, including self-service bag drop-off points, automated border kiosks, and larger flight information display screens.

Besides having more check-in counters, the counters’ design has been changed to allow airline agents to avoid walking on baggage belts to enter their workspaces.

Car rental counters will also be moved inside the arrival hall. Breel said this was done because car rental companies have complained that passengers did not notice them at their previous location in the meet-and-greet area.

The terminal building will boast a new Smiths 9800 CTX machine to scan luggage for explosives and other forms of contraband, as well as high-resolution QPS body scanners to allow for faster passenger screening times, said Breel.

Source: The Daily Herald