Published On: Wed, Feb 26th, 2020

Complaint about SXM Airport

New Airport Departure Lounge - Hurricane Bar

Dear Editor StMaartenNews.com,

My wife and I have visited St. Maarten to vacation (at least once each year) for more than 23 years. We love the island and even visited in December 2017 to show our support and make a small contribution to the island’s post-hurricane recovery. Our last visits were in December 2019 and again earlier this month, February 2020.

We have seen reasonably good recovery to restaurants and other facilities important to tourists on both the Dutch and French sides, but continue to be disappointed by the slow rebuilding of the island’s most critical infrastructure, the airport.

Realizing that this rebuilding is a major and costly undertaking, it has now been nearly 2 1/2 years since Irma, and only a small portion of the airport is open for the benefit of tourists, the island’s lifeblood. In fact, as we were leaving 2 weeks ago, my wife and I heard a comment in the crowded departure area that another couple would not return because of the airport hassle, bussing from/to the aircraft, etc.

We’re not sure whether it is Dutch or French governments, insurance companies, or who is slowing this rebuilding, but for every week the airport is not back to full operation the island can expect to lose tourist business to other Caribbean islands.

Liz and Michael Petko
Charlotte, NC USA

SXM Airport continues to be busy - 20200217

[Editor’s Note: We believe that since the writers of this letter to the editor has been on St. Maarten in early February this year, as stated, the SXM Airport has opened another wing in the Departure Hall to accommodate the growing number of passengers departing from the airport. The new wing of the Departure Hall features a new bar aptly named the “Hurricane Bar”. See photo at the top. The photo directly, taken from the SXM Airport Facebook Page, also show the number of aircrafts on the ramp in front of the terminal building at any day of the week, especially during the busy weekends. Despite the post-hurricane condition of the terminal building, flights to St. Maarten continues to grow. The recent addition of flights from Curacao by Jetair is just the first of more new airlines expected to start flying to St. Maarten this year. There is more to come. However, when work is to commence on the renovation and rebuilding of the SXM Airport is yet unknown. Financing to complete the airport renovation and rebuilding works has been provided by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, EIB.]