AIRPORT–Delegations from Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba and Suriname joined partner St. Maarten for the annual Islands Airport Safety Committee (IASC) conference week which kicked off on Monday. The conference mainly focuses on all aspects of operational safety at aerodromes.
Interim Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Cornelius de Weever opened the conference at Simpson Bay Resort with words of encouragement for visiting guests and hopes the meetings, which will end on Friday, will be informative for all parties involved.
The conference was to be held in September 2017 but was cancelled due to the passing of Hurricane Irma.
Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) Chief Operations Officer (COO) Michel Hyman said in his opening speech at the conference on Monday, ”We are indeed happy to be able to host the Conference this year, in spite of all the challenges of rebuilding our airport and island after the unprecedented damage suffered at the hands of Irma and Maria last year.
“Safety for us at SXM Airport has always been and will continue to be top priority. This has become even more so in the aftermath of the hurricanes of last September. As you can see, we are in full recovery and reconstruction mode right now. Our goal is, of course, to rebuild better, stronger and smarter, so that, God forbid, if we ever get hit again, we will be able to withstand storms as strong as or stronger than Irma and Maria.
“The Princess Juliana International Airport has been a member of the Islands Airport Safety Committee since its inception in 2006. And this is the third time we have had the honour of hosting this conference where we exchange safety information, sit in safety classes/workshops, review various aspects of aerodrome safety and share safety ideas. This has always benefited us as an aerodrome operator and has helped us prepare for external audits.
”I would like to ask for us to keep in our prayers the families of the more-than-100 passengers who lost their lives when a Boeing 737 crashed shortly after take-off from the Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, at about midday last Friday. This is a chilling reminder of how seriously we must take aviation safety.
“I wish you all very insightful and useful deliberations and a very successful conference.”