St. Maarten’s Airport explores business aviation at Swiss convention

POSTED: 05/14/12 12:38 PM

St. Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport will be represented at the twelfth annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva. The convention in Switzerland begins today and concludes on Wednesday.

PJIAE operations manager Michel Hyman and special projects coordinator Robert Brown will have a packed agenda of events that include exhibits that have been billed as “an incredible static display of aircraft,” education sessions, maintenance and operations sessions, and safety workshops.

The EBACE will take place at the Palexpo and Geneva International Airport under the theme Flying the Return to Growth.

The focus will be on growing the business aviation industry, Brown said. Other topics are runway capacity planning and non-scheduled operations, opportunities in the European business aviation, and the future and direction of business aviation.

St. Maarten is second only to the Bahamas in the Caribbean in terms of business aviation and PJIAE is focused on further developing this market, Brown said.

PJIAE is currently working on developing fixed based operation for primary providers of support services to general aviation operators.

The vast majority of business aviation in St. Maarten comes from the US; the airport intends to explore the European market to grow this business.

Passenger movement figures for business aviation at Princess Juliana have increased significantly from 2009, when they stood at 9,140 passengers to a peak of 16,305 passengers in 2011, a jump of more than 78%. This does not mean that we can remain complacent,” Managing Director Regina Labega said.

“Competition is increasing all over the region. This is why it is important to attend events like EBACE, the premier meeting place for the European business aviation community. We have to stay abreast of the latest developments in this fast-changing sector if we want to remain competitive.”

According to Brown, EBACE is where all the new trends and innovations in business aviation are displayed. “One can get a sense of what others are doing and where the industry is going,” he said.

“Contacts will be made and new possibilities will be identified to attract new business to St. Maarten. This is another step in further developing our position in this market the Caribbean.”

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