For about a month, Saba has been almost inaccessible. Although Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is functioning and did not sustain much damage from Hurricanes Irma or Maria, the island’s dependency on St. Maarten as hub for almost everything made accessibility an issue. Saba Government was therefore very pleased to be in contact with St. Maarten’s Director of Tourism Rolando Brison, who shared a positive message concerning the reopening of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM.
“The islands surrounding St. Maarten’s airport make up 50 per cent or more of the traffic that comes through. So, our Airport’s success is largely attributed to all the islands surrounding us, including Saba. We also have to think of it not just from a tourism perspective, but from a people and human perspective, with the fact that Sabans want to be able to connect to the world and they use St. Maarten’s Airport as their hub. So, we are very proud to be able to get up and running,” Brison said.
As of Tuesday morning, St. Maarten’s Airport welcomed the first flights out of Saba and St. Eustatius and Windward Islands Airways International Winair was awarded a plaque for this.
“Prime Minister [William Marlin — Ed.] was there to personally welcome all of those passengers because we really appreciate and wanted to symbolise the importance of passengers out of Saba and Statia, their contribution to St. Maarten and how we can work together with them. So, it is an important time for St. Maarten, the reopening of the Airport, but it is equally important for all of our neighbouring islands as well,” Brison said.
“Our eyes have been towards St. Maarten in full support. As not only our sister island, but also our main hub, the fast recovery of St. Maarten is in the best interest of our entire region. While Saba has been exploring other options for connectivity such as the ferry Edge to St. Kitts, we will always have close ties to St. Maarten and we are therefore very pleased to hear that the Airport would be reopening,” the Executive Council said in a reaction. Commissioner of Tourism Bruce Zagers stated that he was “elated” about the news of St. Maarten’s Airport reopening and that Winair has started with three daily flights to Saba.
“This is not only great news for Saba but even more so for St. Maarten. We are proud to see how far the island has come in such a short time and we are confident that St. Maarten’s continued recovery is on the right track.” said Zagers.
The Daily Herald.