~ Students present bouquets of flowers to Queen and Princess.~
Simpson Bay: The Royal Family headed by His Royal Highness King Willem Alexander along with his wife Her Royal Highness Queen Maxima and their eldest daughter Princess Catharina Amalia descended on the tarmac of the Princess Juliana International Airport at 10 am sharp on Monday, February 6th, 2023.
The Royal Family was greeted by Governor Ajamu Baly and the first lady, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, and Chief Executive Officer of PJIAE Brian Mingo.
As they arrived two students, 12-year-old Rosalia Lake of the Ruby Labega Primary School and Malyk Morrison of Dr. Martin Luther King school presented the bouquet of flowers to Her Royal Highness Queen Maxima and Princess Catharina Amalia. Both sixth graders were excited that they were chosen by their respective schools to present the bouquets and to also meet the Royal Families in person.
The Royals then inspected the guards of honor as they move into the PJIAE construction site where they met with the management of PJIAE prior to touring the reconstruction site mainly the departure hall that is slated for completion by September 2023. The Royals walked through the entire departure hall starting from gate C and then to Gate A. While approaching gate A they took the time to greet some of the construction workers that were inside the Departure Hall where they are working.
"His Majesty King Willem Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Máxima, and Princess Amalia visited Princess Juliana International Airport today as part of Princess Amalia's introductory trip to the Caribbean of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The airport CEO, Brian Mingo, Project Director, Mirto Breell, and Manager of Operations Z’haria Richardson, gave the Royals a tour of the construction area and the existing operations of the terminal building.
Currently, Ballast Nedam International Projects is rebuilding the new Departure hall, which is set to open before the peak season of 2023.
The new terminal building is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.
During the visit, the Royals saw the impressive progress that has been made since the start of the rebuilding of the airport terminal which started in 2021.
The new terminal building is vital to the economy of the island, making it a source of pride for the airport and the entire team involved in its reconstruction.
Brian Mingo, CEO of Princess Juliana International Airport, said, "I am extremely proud to show the Royal family around the project and share the progress that has been made by the entire team. Rebuilding a live airport is a complex and demanding task, especially with the need to maintain daily operations. The focus is now on the completion of our airport which plays such an important role in the economy of St. Maarten."
PJIAE Press Statement.
Fire Department Jaws of Life Display.
The Royal Family then proceeded to the Fire Department where they were given a spectacular demonstration of how firemen on St. Maarten execute their duties. The mock scene captured the eyes of the Royals and the firemen even got help from Princess Catharina Amalia who decided to walk towards a waiting ambulance with a patient that was rescued from a vehicle by using the “jaws of life” technique. After that, the Royals walked through some tents that also had mock scenes of injured persons that were attended to by the firemen.
His Royal Highness King Willem Alexander even though is on a working visit he expressed humor as he walked through the various tents, sharing jokes with the workers of the fire department and the Red Cross who was also on scene expressing how they deal with displaced persons after the passing of a hurricane.