Groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of the main works of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project

Groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of the main works of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project

The main works of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project have now officially started, marked by an optimistic groundbreaking ceremony at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) on Monday, October 18, 2021.

As one of the most anticipated reconstruction projects on the island, the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project will see a revitalized terminal facility rebuilt at the country’s main international gateway. The project aims to restore passenger capacity to pre-Hurricane Irma levels and enhance the overall travelling experience with the latest technology and amenities for advanced airports.

With the terminal building’s keys being officially handed over to the contractor, PJIAE chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Mingo and Ballast Nedam International Projects B.V. CEO Roy van Eijsden opened the project’s main works to a round of applause from those in attendance.

In addition to Mingo and Van Eijsden, present at the ceremony were the entire Council of Ministers, except Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Roger Lawrence, who is abroad on a work visit. Also in attendance were representatives and staff of the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK), Ballast Nedam, Royal HaskoningDHV, the Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), PJIAE, and the airport holding company (PJIAH).

“Sint Maarten remains vulnerable in a changing climate. We have had to pivot to stay on our path to recovery, but we are on track. This milestone is of utmost importance, with an anticipated outcome of having the Princess Juliana International Airport, the people’s airport, even better than before,” said PJIAE CEO Brian Mingo at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“The Government of Sint Maarten is committed to the revitalization of our economy through the reconstruction of the airport’s terminal. The airport remains a vital component of the country’s economic growth, and I look forward to the successful completion of this project, which will have tremendous benefits for the people of Sint Maarten. I thank all stakeholders of the project, in particular the Project Management Unit (PMU) team for playing a key role together with all stakeholders in getting us to this milestone today,” said Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

“A fully restored terminal building is the single most important condition for Sint Maarten’s successful recovery from the 2017 hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, I am thrilled to witness today’s event and I am very proud that the NRPB has been able to help get this long-anticipated project up and running,” said NRPB Director Claret Connor.

“The reconstruction of PJIA has received the full and unwavering support of the Netherlands throughout this process. Guaranteeing the accessibility of St. Maarten to support the economy was set as one of the guiding principles of the Netherlands from the beginning of the recovery process, and that commitment continues to this day,” said Dutch representative in Sint Maarten Chris Johnson.

The project’s main works were preceded by mold remediation and waste disposal activities, which were completed in the second quarter 2021. These necessary activities cleared the terminal building of potentially dangerous mold and debris left over from the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Ballast Nedam was awarded the contract for the main works, which was signed in August 2021. Royal HaskoningDHV will act as the project’s supervising engineer on behalf of PJIAE. The project’s main works are scheduled to be completed by the second quarter of 2023. However, sections of the terminal building will begin to come online from as early as December 2022.

The Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project is co-financed for $72 million from the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, $50 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and $7 million from PJIAE’s own funds.

The Trust Fund and EIB portions are made available through the Government of Sint Maarten as a loan to PJIAE.