Study Says SXM Should Set Up Air Service Development Committee to Further Cement Hub Function

The Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company, PJIAE NV should take “immediate action to form an effective Air Service Development Community with its country clients (to become country partners), regional airlines and ferry services in order to drive the airport’s Air Service Development programme to the benefit of all participants.”

This was the main recommendation of a study on Air Service Maintenance and Development conducted at the request of SXM Airport by El Perial Management Services. El Perial recently submitted its final report to the airport management. In the report, it says, “The establishment of the Air Service Development Committee (ASDC), led by the PJIAE, will be the organizational vehicle to drive this effort.”

Another key recommendation of the report is for PJIAE NV “to immediately start collecting detailed marketing-useful data on its passengers and to convince its now country partners to share similar data with all members of the ASDC in an open and timely manner.” This data, according to the report, “will form the basis for a more effective approach to both international and regional airlines to serve PJIAE and its country partners.”

In welcoming the report, PJIAE NV Managing Director, Regina LaBega, said that the airport considered the study of “utmost importance if we are to maintain and further develop SXM’s hub function and increase airlift to the island.”

"We will take the necessary steps to ensure the effective implementation of the main recommendations in the report, and will start with sharing it with our stakeholders who, it must be pointed out, had shown a high degree of cooperation during the elaboration of the study," LaBega said.

We will take the necessary steps to ensure the effective implementation of the main recommendations in the report, and will start with sharing it with our stakeholders who, it must be pointed out, had shown a high degree of cooperation during the elaboration of the study,” LaBega said.

It is not the first time El Perial would conduct such a study on St. Maarten. In 2004, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau contracted the firm to assist it in developing its air services program to support investment in and expansion of St. Maarten’s airport. That report, says El Perial, formed the baseline for the one it just concluded. Then, as now, passenger movement was at the center of the study.

“The key word in this report is ‘partnership’,” said LaBega. “That partnership was at the core of our joint success in attracting JetBlue to the island, as the report correctly notes. We will have to further expand on our partnership with all our stakeholders in order for all of us to move forward together.”

The report also includes recommendations on increasing service levels to and from Canada and the Intra-Caribbean as well as the quality of service at SXM. Detailed recommendations on ensuring expanded service from the USA, UK and Latin America are also included in the report.

The report also includes recommendations on increasing service levels to and from Canada and the Intra-Caribbean as well as the quality of service at SXM. Detailed recommendations on ensuring expanded service from the USA, UK and Latin America are also included in the report.

While acknowledging the support it received in carrying out the study from the management of SXM, El Perial however warned that, “ours was only the first step.”

According to El Perial, “The next steps and certainly the greater challenge falls with the management of PJIAE as it proceeds to implement the recommendations, in the full realization that it does not have complete control over such implementation and as such has to create successful partnerships with varied grouping of stakeholders.”

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