SIMPSON BAY:--- St. Barths is committed to strengthening its partnership with the Princess Juliana International Airport operating company (PJIAE) and recognizes PJIA as its international airport. This was disclosed by President Bruno Magras of the Collectivite of St. Barths at a meeting Monday with a delegation of PJIAE led by its managing director, Regina LaBega.
The two parties agreed to work together more closely to develop a smoother, better, and more convenient service for St. Barths (Transfer) passengers. To achieve this, PJIAE will research the possibility of allowing airlines to retrieve their St. Barths-bound passengers and VIP bags with the aim of making their transfer faster and easier.
In connection with this, President Magras would like that during the afternoon hours, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Princess Juliana International Airport considers the closing time of St. Barths airport. Attending first to flights destined for St. Barths would improve service, and avoid the passengers having to overnight and therefore lose one day of their vacation.
Both parties also agreed to share information in order to ensure better cohesion between the two islands.
"We agreed to meet as often as possible in order to build on our relationship and work closely together to jointly develop new markets," Regina LaBega said.
In this regard, both parties agreed to a coordinated approach to COPA airlines.
President Magras and the Director of the St. Barths Tourism Committee, Inès Bouchaut-Choisy, pledged marketing support to ensure that the COPA flights are sustainable. Surveys have shown on both islands that South American visitors, particularly the Brazilians, are among the tourists who spend the most on shopping. Brazilians also love to hop over to St. Barths when they visit St. Maarten.
Consequently, it was agreed also that St. Barths Director of Tourism will travel with the St. Maarten delegation tomorrow to persuade COPA to maintain or rather increase its service to PJIA.
"As a hub, PJIA is committed to intensifying its relationship with St. Barths, and indeed, with all the other hub destinations it serves," LaBega said.