Breaking ground for a Multi-Million dollar FBO with the main Airport Terminal Building (ATB) in ruins after Hurricane Irma??? Are we nuts? Have the 195mph winds rattled our brains? I know a contract with a preferred local construction company has been signed some time ago, but Hurricane Irma was no fiction. It destroyed Governor Holiday’s work of art. The SXM airport IS the gateway into SXM, responsible for the lion's share of what makes our island’s economy run. TOURISM.
Every available penny and all manpower should be poured into repairing and rebuilding the ATB so we can welcome tourists back to our shores in a pre-Irma fashion before spending an ounce of energy on anything else at the airport. As an active pilot flying in and out of Princess Juliana International Airport, I welcome a professional looking and operating Fixed Base Operation’s facility but NOW is not the time. FBO’s accommodate primarily the rich and famous (I am told 1% of our visitors)....our ATB accommodates everyone else. Do the math..... And then that beautiful, very high flagpole on the hill.... it is in the flight path of the airport when taking off towards the East. PLEASE Mr. Minister, put a red flashing light on the top of your pole. Especially at night or in instrument weather conditions (when we have to take off under Instrument Flight Rules), it is a HAZARD!
Rectification: There IS a light on the Minister’s flagpole, however it is so dim, that if you are in an airplane doing upwards of 150 knots per hour, by the time you see the red glow, you have already flown into the obstacle..... The Minister gets an “A” for effort and an “F” for execution.
Michael J. Ferrier