News & Media
ASDC partners seek ways to make SXM a more effective hub
Consultant advises regional open sky agreement
SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Wednesday, July 9, 2014) - When partners in the Air Service Development Committee (ASDC) met last week, the main objective was to seek ways to improve connectivity between international and regional flights to serve the needs of all members.
According to a presentation by Ian Bertrand of El Perial, the consultants assisting with further developing the hub function of the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, the time periods from 13:00 hours to 14:29 hours had the most arrivals or seating capacity of 7,705 seats serving 12 international gateways.
On the other hand, the time period from 14:00 hours to 15:30 hours had the highest number of departing passengers at 5,455 on international flights based on seating capacity.
“If SXM Airport has to be an effective hub, we need to encourage regional airlines and by extension, passengers to connect into these time periods,” Bertrand told the well-attended meeting.
Bertrand added that the Department of Civil Aviation has to make adjustments to facilitate the efforts of the airlines and ASDC partners in making the hub function as efficient as possible. For their part, the ASDC partners are encouraged to work with regional airlines to determine flight times that are desirable for the ASDC countries while SXM Airport could assist in this.
Bertrand stated that he is confident that the interest of all stakeholders can be served if there is a regional open sky agreement between SXM and its ASDC partners where airlines that are domiciled in those countries can be free to fly within the region occupied by the ASDC partners.
He added that the airlines should position themselves as the international airlines for the ASDC countries and to further optimize this an agreement has to be established indicating this condition applies to all ASDC countries.
The consultant further noted that notwithstanding the competition that exists among the airports, SXM, ANU (Antigua), and SKB (St. Kitts) offer a lot of complementary services. If a relationship is formed among these three airports and the respective tourism authorities, whereby each airport can benefit from the international route services offered from each other, this could result in a competitive advantage for all. These competitive advantages can encourage open sky agreements for airlines domiciled within these territories, he said, while the strategy will strengthen SXM as a premier hub in this region.
Bertrand advised that SXM Airport, the Department of Civil Aviation, and the tourism authority should take the lead and invite ANU and SKB to work together and address the various issues common to the three airports.
The meeting then discussed the finalization of the establishment of the Foundation that would facilitate the joint initiatives of the ASDC partners within a legal framework and allow for fast decision-making as well as concerted efforts in pursuing the common goals.
Two extraordinary meetings are scheduled to be held this month to finalize the establishment of the Foundation.