Princess Juliana International Airport Supports Awareness Week for the Physically Challenged and Wheelchair Tennis Tournament

The Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company NV (PJIAE) fully supports the ongoing Awareness Week for the Physically Challenged and the international Wheelchair Tennis Tournament organized by the Committee Be Able, set up by Top Promotions Foundation.

The Awareness Week which began in St Maarten on November 23 and ends December 2, 2012, features several activities aimed at empowering the disabled and educating and informing the general public and the governments about the value of sports for disabled persons so that good policies could be designed and executed by the authorities, not only for sports, but also in other areas for disabled persons on the island.

PJIAE men at work earlier this year on the signage for the disabled outside St Maarten’s airport. (PJIAE photo)

Highlight of the week is the Wheelchair Tennis Competition with Esther Vergeer from the Netherlands, the number one female player in the world, as one of the main attractions. She won her opening match at the Princess Port de Plaisance Resort on Monday, when the competition was officially opened.

Six top female players and six males are participating in this tournament, which also includes the number one player in the male category, Stephane Houdet of France. Play starts at 3 PM each day with the semi-finals slated for Friday at 3:30 PM and the finals set for Saturday at 8:30 AM.

PJIAE has pledged its support to the foundation and made a surprise donation toward the event. The company has been a longtime advocate of the disabled. This is evident in the traffic signs added earlier this year in front of the airport to aid in the drop-off and pick-up of physically-challenged persons.

“As an international airport, PJIA must cater to all users, including the physically-challenged,” Regina LaBega, Managing Director, stated in an invited comment. “Our signage must therefore clearly reflect this philosophy.”

In addition to the drop-off and pick-up zones, special handicapped parking is provided in the airport’s public and employee parking lots.

PJIAE is further considering how it can assist the committee even more and create awareness for the needs of the disabled throughout its facilities.

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