SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT ROAD) – Just before the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of arriving visitors at SXM was recovering at a fast pace, from the impact of Hurricane Irma.
In January and February this year, PJIAE saw an increase of respectively 108% and 123% compared to 2019.
A turn of events occurred in March this year, when Sint Maarten closed its borders and went on lockdown to protect the community from the virus. The impact on PJIAE’s Visitor Arrivals, clearly visible in the graph, dropped to zero in the months following the lockdown.
In July Sint Maarten reopened its borders again, initially for regional and European flights, and in August for flights from the United States and several other countries.
During the lock-down, PJIAE Management determined that the success of SXM reopening depends largely on adapting to the global pandemic, by designing and implementing all the necessary Covid-19 prevention and control measures.
‘While PJIAE was in hibernation mode, we appointed a Covid-19 Taskforce, led by Mr. Connally Connor – Manager Quality Assurance. The objective for the Taskforce was to implement all the necessary prevention and control measures to keep staff, the airport community, and our visitors safe.
The Managing Board praises the Taskforce, the ministries of VSA and TEATT and all other airport partners for their efforts and results. This allowed us to reopen and run the airport in a safe way, allowing PJIAE and Sint Maarten to start its road to recovery, said Mr. Brian Mingo – CEO.
Since the reopening in August 2020, PJIAE’s Visitor Arrivals grew from 12% to 20% in October. Most of the airlines restarted their routes to Sint Maarten and indicated that the demand for Sint Maarten is high compared to other Caribbean destinations.
Furthermore, for the month November, PJIAE notices a continuous growth in recovery but is aware of a fragile situation with increased lockdowns in Europe and a rapidly growing outbreak in the United States. The numbers so far, are nowhere near the levels PJIAE needs for its business recovery, however, it is promising to see a positive trend in passenger numbers. PJIAE is ready for this season, to provide Sint Maarten’s visitors a safe welcome as well as departure.