SXM Airport is your reliable connection to the world

Address of Managing Director of PJIAE, Regina LaBega, on International Civil Aviation Day, Dec. 7, 2012

Today is once again, International Civil Aviation Day, which is being celebrated this year under the theme: "Aviation: Your reliable connection to the world." On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Princess Juliana International Airport, this theme could not be more appropriate.


Our airport is the gateway, not only to St. Maarten, but to the neighboring islands of Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barths. In fulfilling this hub function, it has become the reliable connection of residents of these islands to the world.

Air transport is the largest industry in the world, connecting peoples through travel and tourism, and a major force for the social, economic and cultural development of societies across the globe. In this regard, it is also a very significant contributor to the goals of world peace and prosperity.

When the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day as International Civil Aviation Day in 1996, at the initiative of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the aim was to establish a global celebration that would put the spotlight on the significance of civil aviation in the economic and social development of nations.

There is no doubt that Princess Juliana International Airport can be considered the lifeline of our economic sustainability, playing a pivotal role in good times as well as in challenging times.

Connection is a two-way street. St. Maarteners are world travelers – whether it is for business, pleasure, education or family reasons. With an average passenger movement of 1.6 million people a year, Princess Juliana International Airport is not only our reliable connection to the world, it is also where we welcome the world to our shores.

On this special day, I salute all those employed in the aviation sector in St. Maarten, particularly the staff of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PJIAE). I also wish to seize this opportunity to encourage the youth of our island to seek the multiple career opportunities in this sector in order to guarantee that it remains our reliable connection to the world.

Happy International Civil Aviation Day!