Member of Parliament (MP) Rolando Brison is not alone in his concern (see Friday/Saturday edition) about what he described as a “tiny” temporary terminal at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). According to him, it’s more than twice smaller that a similar structure put up after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Announcement of the current Temporary Arrival Facility (TAF) in the newspaper of October 10 was followed the next day by an editorial titled “Fond memories”, acknowledging that while the timing might not seem great due to the upcoming high tourism season, this move is needed to renovate the Arrival Hall and complete the airport reconstruction project. However, the same column also mentioned that despite the best of intentions all this would lead to some inconvenience.
The island is clearly getting busier already, as several airlines expand flights. Incoming passengers over the weekend noted among other things that there was only one luggage belt. Their processing still went relatively smoothly, but going forward the flow of passengers will only grow bigger.
The United People’s (UP) party leader made several suggestions that in his opinion could alleviate the situation. To what extent these are feasible certainly at this late date is another matter.
He called it a “shocking oversight” and openly wondered “what the airport management was thinking” when they constructed this “miniature” structure. The latter remains for CEO Brian Mingo and others to answer, but a release at the time said meetings were held with stakeholders to ensure efficiency and minimise passenger inconvenience.
The good news is that the rebuilt Departure Hall should open this week. That might help leave guests with a favourable last impression, although a less-than-ideal first one.