AIRPORT–Princess Juliana International Airport SXM welcomed the inaugural TUIfly Dreamliner to St. Maarten with a traditional water canon salute by the airport’s Rescue and Fire-Fighting department and a festive ceremony in the departure hall, amongst a host of TUI and airport officials and invited guests, including Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ernest Sams and a number of Members of Parliament.
TUI Netherlands General Manager Arjan Kers called it a “unique milestone in the success story of TUI Netherlands,” and called the addition of the destination a “new colour to an already beautiful painting,” referring also to the other Dutch islands being served.
He attended the ceremony along with a number of company officials including other management members, captain and crew. Around 120 travel agents also travelled to St. Maarten on the inaugural flight and are staying as part of a familiarisation trip, supported by the airport.
Kers assured that TUI Netherlands was the “absolute market leader in the Dutch market” and that while the island now welcomes some 17,000 Dutch vacationers each year, the two weekly TUIfly flights would be able to add almost 15,000 to that figure, nearly doubling it.
Airport Managing Director Regina LaBega and Minister Sams addressed attendees briefly, looking back at the journey and significance of the milestone and touching on the economic benefits ahead for destination St. Maarten.
Sonesta Group, Divi Little Bay Resort, Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort, Holland House and L’Esperance are in business with TUI for package deals.
Attendees were invited aboard for a quick peek in the aircraft which had been waiting – in full view of the ceremony – with a full deck of passengers, before the plane departed to Curaçao.
Cultural-artistic tokens of appreciation were also passed between LaBega, Minister Sams and TUI officials during the ceremony.
The itinerary including commercial flights to St. Maarten will officially launch on Sunday, November 1. TUIfly’s new flight schedule as of November consists of nine flights per week to the Dutch Caribbean, of which four flights per week are to Aruba, three per week are to Bonaire and two per week are to St. Maarten. Flights to St. Maarten will operate every Wednesday and Sunday.
All flights are triangle flights and are combined with a stop in Curaçao, with the exception of one direct flight to Curaçao every Saturday.
All flights to the Dutch Caribbean will be executed on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Source: The Daily Herald Inaugural TUIfly flight welcomed to St. Maarten