Jetbridge being installed at Princess Juliana International Airport

SXM AIRPORT — A large section of the first Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB) at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) has been installed, and the assembly of the connecting tunnel to aircraft is in preparation. The prognosis is that four new enclosed, elevated passageways which extend from the airport terminal gates to airplanes can be taken into use in July 2023.

In 2017, the jet bridges were damaged during Hurricane Irma and had to be demolished. Management of PJIA expects the current passenger boarding process and overall passenger experience to be greatly enhanced with the four jet bridges. The new situation will include an upgrade with added escalators at each gate, elevators, and stairs, for smooth boarding and improved operational flow.

The PBB procurement package included the supply and installation of fixed walkways and apron drive bridges, accessories and systems, for all contact gates. The US $2.8-million-dollar project, funded by the World Bank, officially started on April 19, 2022, and was scheduled to end on January 14, 2023.

Awarded supplier Shenzhen CIMC-Tianda Airport Support Ltd. and CIMC Tianda Netherlands Cooperatief U.A, a Chinese and Dutch joint venture, had presented a clear proposal, detailing its plan for delivering the supply and installation of the tunnels and equipment. However, the manufacturing of the bridges took longer than the scheduled eight months.

The PPBs and major equipment arrived in Port St. Maarten less than a month ago. On March 14, the first shipments were lifted from the pier in Pointe Blanche onto large trucks to be transported to the airport. In the following six days, massive objects were taken under police escort to the airport in the evening and night hours.

The last haul left the port on Monday, March 20. The installation of the first tunnel was scheduled to start soon after, but was postponed due to heavy winds. Depending on weather conditions, the installation works will take another three months, completing an intricate part of the St. Maarten Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project.