Government-owned companies Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), Port St. Maarten and Winair are set to receive payroll support for their staff as part of the St. Maarten Stimulus Relief Plan SSRP), which goes into effect this month. These companies are set to receive assistance because their income is expected to be drastically affected as a result of the lockdown due to the current coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
The SSRP states, the airport operating company PJIAE was expected recover its business to an estimated level of 85 per cent this year and start its reconstruction programme after the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes. However, this is being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PJIA prepared a crisis programme which includes drastic trimming of cost and bridging the crisis period (zero business) with available reserves and funds. The company has approximately 270 employees with a payroll cost of NAf. 2.3 million per month. As of mid-March, the airport’s revenues were expected to have been completely depleted whilst the majority of the operational expenses were expected to continue.
PJIA’s management, in consultation with their stakeholders and financiers, intends to continue with the reconstruction project so that when the health crisis is over and travellers start flying again, the airport is able to facilitate this. To make this possible, the airport needs support with its monthly payroll and has therefore been included in the calculations for SSRP’s payroll support programme for businesses, the SSRP outlined.
Winair is currently not operating due to flight restrictions imposed by government and internationally. A stress test conducted in March on the airline’s liquidity position shows that outstanding receivables are uncollectible at this time, while majority of Winair’s payables are automatically deducted from its bank account.
Based on the highly regulated industry in which it operates, Winair is required to pay the majority of its payables without delay to prevent being labelled as delinquent in the aviation world. To ensure a smooth restart after this pandemic, it is imperative that these expenses remain a priority for Winair.
Based on its cash flow position, the payroll expenses for March and April will deplete all the cash reserves it needs to pay other ongoing expenses. Therefore, Winair has been included in the calculations for the payroll programme.
The Daily Herald