St. Maarten Airport (SXM) discusses Open Skies, Pre-Clearance at 2015 Confab

POSTED: 02/23/15 12:32 AM

St. Maarten -The possibility of an open skies agreement and the establishment of a USA pre-clearance at SXM Airport, were among the issues discussed by the St. Maarten delegation to the Routes Americas 2015 Conference, held recently in Denver, Colorado.

The St. Maarten delegation was led by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Claret Connor and consisted of SXM Managing Director, Regina Labega, SXM Operations Manager, Michel Hyman, and SXM Acting Manager of Marketing & Customer Service, Suzy Kartokromo. According to John Byerly, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the US State Department, and keynote speaker at the conference, Open Skies generated over $4 billion in revenues for the USA last year. He highlighted Chile as being at the forefront of air service liberalization, which he stressed, reaps significant economic benefits as a result.

Open skies fosters competition and, without doubt, enhances the quality of service, he added. Byerly also pointed out that there are challenges such as insufficient airport and ATC infrastructures and inadequate capacity. “Open Skies is definitely a goal St. Maarten should pursue if we want to attract more airlines to the destination and further solidify our position as a regional hub,” Labega remarked. “Of course, we’re also very much interested in establishing a US Pre-Clearance at SXM Airport. The matter is under serious consideration and we’re doing all that is necessary to ensure that we achieve this,” Labega added.

The SXM Managing Director said that Minister Connor is very much on board where these issues are concerned but added that she couldn’t give a time frame when all of these could become a reality. “We’re certainly working on it very seriously,” Labega said.

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