The newly opened section of PJIA’s departure hall. (Dimetri Whitfield photo)
AIRPORT–Persons departing Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) may be pleasantly surprised to find that there is a new wing to the departure hall. The move seeks to ease some of the congestion that has plagued PJIA at peak operating hours, as the section adds three gates and approximately 300 seats to its departure facilities.
To find the new wing, one must first clear the security and Immigration checkpoints, walk past food and souvenir concessionaires, walk down a flight of stairs, take a left followed by another left by a large, green sign proclaiming “Bar” in white lettering. If you find a room with a bar and colourful depictions of fish on the far-side wall, then you are in the right place.
In addition to the bar – called “Hurricane Bar” by airport staff – the wing adds three gates and about 300 seats to the departure hall. It also features its own restroom and electrical outlets.
Hurricane Bar is so named because the wood that was used to build its furniture came from wooden materials that washed up on St. Maarten shores after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Recycling is a big part of Hurricane Bar’s décor and ambiance, with old licence plates being remade into the bar’s lampshades and paper straws being used in place of plastic ones.
The operation of the new wing is only temporary, airport officials told The Daily Herald on Friday morning. It is a final part of “Package One” of the airport’s reconstruction plan. The section will be closed when “Package Two” commences, as it will be remade for a new purpose as part of the reconstructed terminal building.
However, this will take some time. According to airport officials, sections of the terminal building that will be rebuilt in Package Two must be inspected to determine that remediation during Package One was done correctly.
During the remediation process, Texas-based company BMS CAT International cleaned all mould-contaminated items on the ground floor of the terminal building. The company also cleaned filters, light fixtures and any other items that will remain in the building after internal demolition. The inspection process will take approximately six months, officials said.
Persons can make their way to Hurricane Bar in the meantime, while they still have a chance.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/pjia-expands-departure-hall