Minister Johnson gets realistic impression of PJIA’s progress | THE DAILY HERALD

Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson speaking to Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) reconstruction Project Manager Rob Noorman while PJIA management team Ravi Daryanani and Michel Hyman accompany the minister’s delegation last week Wednesday.

PHILIPSBURG–Enhancing the experience for arriving and departing travellers and bringing the Terminal Building back online “post-haste” was the message Tourism Minister Stuart Johnson gave to airport management when he toured Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in his capacity as shareholder representative last week.

According to a press release issued Sunday, Johnson also reemphasised PJIA’s importance to the island’s overall economic revitalisation. He said the airport’s reconstruction, including the provisions to build the US pre-clearance facility, represents a vital feature of the government’s plans for redevelopment and creating a sustainable St. Maarten.

One of the main reasons for Johnson’s visit was to get a realistic impression of the potential for reopening the terminal building for the start of the new tourism season in November.

“To date, several media articles have highlighted the cry from the local population and business community about the alarmingly long time it has taken to see real signs of reconstruction at the airport. There is also international pressure from tourism partners to get the airport back on track urgently.

“Besides, local hoteliers who are investing millions of dollars in the reconstruction of their properties have also expressed their concerns over the delay in rebuilding the airport, and have asked for solutions to the immediate financial issues facing the airport,” according to the release.

Johnson said these matters have his attention. He calls for more effort in the interim to improve the experience for visitors and residents using the airport. He also expressed concern about humidity inside the tents presently being used as temporary arrival and departure halls. He said that notwithstanding the devastation to the airport caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the comfort level of passengers and airport staff must remain a high priority.

PJIA management assured Johnson that they would give urgent attention to improving the ventilation at the arrival and departure facilities.

Johnson told PJIA’s management board that he is eagerly awaiting the reconstruction of the terminal building . He mentioned the recent publication in The Daily Herald which showed passengers standing outside the departure hall in long lines and said the speed of work to repair the terminal building and replace the check-in kiosks must be increased to improve the ease and comfort of travel.

Johnson and his delegation were given a tour by PJIA Chief Operation Officer Michel Hyman, airport reconstruction Project Manager Rob Noorman, Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer Ravi Daryanani and Corporate Communications Officer Audrey St. Luce-Jack.

Source: The Daily Herald