Published On: Sat, Jun 20th, 2020

Are we ready?

Editorial - St Maarten NewsMinister of TEATT Ludmilla De Weever announced via a press statement on Friday evening that the airport will reopen on July 1st, Emancipation Day. The question is, are we ready? According to the airport workers, the airport needs a thorough cleaning before they return to work. One of the safety measures enforced at the airport from July 1st is that only employees and passengers are allowed in the building.

Aruba announced a full schedule of flights arriving in July. Already we hear they have canceled some of these flights. Experiences in other destinations demonstrate that many of the destinations are not yet ready to receive guests. The rigorous testing procedures at some airports are scaring future passengers away.

The international airlines travel association, IATA, has issued clear guidelines where it pertains to testing. One clear directive is that airports must not penalize airlines for transportation of passengers testing positive with the coronavirus. We cannot expect IATA to state anything different other than to defend its member airlines’ position. Countries eager to get their economy back on track are also succumbing to pressure from the airlines to open their airports for arriving flights.

One highly critical issue needing addressing is the question of how reliable the testing kits are. St. Maarten has less than 12 days not only to have the airport ready to receive passengers but also to determine whether the test kits the island intends to use can provide enough reliability to guarantee the island’s population’s safety.

On Emancipation Day, we will be free to choose between public health or economic health. Are we ready to make that choice?

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Referenced articles & links:
Airport to re-open on Emancipation Day
World Airports Opening Dates. What about the virus?
Airport workers ready to strike
St. Maarten COVID-19 Travel Advisory & Travel Entry Requirements