The implementation of an automated border control (ABC) e-Gates solution at the Immigration zone of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM (see Monday story) can be considered good news. Time is money perhaps more than ever in today’s world and anything making the passenger flow smoother while also enhancing safety and security will undoubtedly be welcomed by many.
This is indeed a good example of the kind of public-private partnership (PPP), in this case with the local Police Force, needed to move the destination ahead. Of course, until now it regards the exit and not the admittance control that is obviously a lot more sensitive, but at least visitors returning home will be able to benefit from the new facility.
In addition, the intention is to continue modernising the local border control for incoming traffic too, using advanced passenger information systems and the like. Together with plans for a US Customs pre-clearance, this should greatly improve what the airport is able to offer its clients.
Efficiency is the name of the game in modern-day travel, which is why Government’s recent proposal for a departure tax of either 10 Antillean guilders or US $5 to generate some NAf. 9 million per year wasn’t rejected outright in this column. Sure, such a levy would come on top of handling fees SXM already charges mostly through the airlines, but the main thing is to avoid any extra congestion, delay or hassle.