“It is quite a giant step forward into the long anticipated terminal building,” declared the Chief of Operations (COO), Michel Hyman. The Managing Board which also comprises of the CFO and Acting CEO, Ravi Daryanani officially announced this week that the Departure and Arrival Operations will be temporarily transferred to the ground floor of the terminal building. The projected date for this new venture is November 2018, whereby the operational activities will be carried out from the former Baggage Claim through the B-Gates area at the original terminal building of the airport. The project is dubbed “Phase 1 – Temporary Operations Facility and is still in the tender process, as the Expression of Interest is already in progress for the construction. Currently the operations are being run from the Arrival and Departure Pavilions on the airside of the Princess Juliana International Airport – SXM, whereby departing passengers access the tents between the bus holding and the employee parking lot. The Departure Pavilion went live with its operations on February 9, 2018, while the Arrival Pavilion was opened on March 23, 2018. The Departure pavilion features a total of 18 check-in counters, 7 gates and 10 Concessions (F&B and Retail). The Arrival Pavilion houses the Customs and the Immigration department. The Arrivals currently serves as the Baggage Claim area. The temporary Departure Pavilion currently holds a total of 325 seats, while the transfer into the temporary operations facility will feature 800 to 1000 seats for passengers. There will be 32 airline check-in positions which will include luggage scales. There will be an increase of flights with the U.S. carriers. Meanwhile, Canadian carriers like West Jet is adding a second flight on November 1st, 2018 and there is also ongoing talks with other Canadian carriers. SXM Airport is very pleased to announce that the total long-haul airline flight frequency from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America to SXM is increasing in the peak Winter season of 2018/2019. This increase is at a pace consistent with the St. Maarten room recovery inventory after the hurricanes of 2017. The number of flights from these tourist market origins in January 2019 will be at 69% of what it was in January 2017, while St. Maarten’s room inventory will be at 54% of what it was in January 2017. While the 2019 flight frequency level apparently exceeds that of the St. Maarten room inventory compared to January 2017, the fact that 35% of passengers arriving on long-haul flights are actually making hub connections to St. Barths or Anguilla means that there is good synchronization of flights with places for visitors to stay, when they fly through the SXM Airport. Some of the hub islands are seeing their room inventory recovering at a faster rate than that of St. Maarten, as some of them were not damaged at all after the hurricanes, thus room accommodation for future flights are not an issue.