Gateway 2030

The airport recently presented its vision Gateway 2030 under the “Innovating Happiness” subtitle. The presentation outlined the future expansion and redevelopment of Reina Beatrix.

The new vision was created to accommodate the projected growth of our tourism, and to enhance the passenger experience, besides increasing the efficiency of the airport facility.

Right now the good folks at AAA are running a TWO in ONE airport, but in the future their vision implies just ONE integrated gateway with Check In, Immigration, Document Control and Security in a central space, then passengers will be split to Non-US Bound and US Bound before the gates.

What this vision means in numbers? The airport will be able to handle 1,638 passengers an hour, and the pre-clearance peak passenger count could increase to 1,360.

Bags? Peak bag handling could reach a record of 2,178 bags per hour, with the help of a sophisticated baggage handling system.

That’s a lot to keep track of.

Basically the airport will be expanded on both ends to offer a large common check in hall, new airline offices, a combined facility for immigration and security, a revamped shopping and leisure area, new baggage processing systems, more exciting F&B — I am all for that —  and pier expansion, allowing more aircraft contact and bus-gates, with larger waiting areas.

Finally, the airport will also receive a goods delivery point, a staff checkpoint, and a waste collection point,  that, IMAGINE, it doesn’t have at the moment.

The project will go on in phases, starting hopefully with the project definition and design-brief mid 2017. Then the plan must be architecturally and structurally designed. The tender phase is another challenge, as AAA invites bids for the project, submitted within the deadline, and within budget. There is a lot of money involved and I hope the airport can safeguard against political manipulation in the naming of the contractor, and during the construction period, expected to wind down in second quarter of 2022!!

The Gateway 2030 report concludes with projected arrival of one million passengers from the USA, by 2031. Or 1,450.000 passengers overall.

As expected: Airport fees will go up to over $60 but it will all be worth it, I hear, and within norm in the Caribbean.

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July 22, 2017
Rona Coster