News & Media

PJIAE N.V Welcomes Return of Copa Airlines: Bi-weekly Flights Between Panama City and St.Maarten

(L to R) - Cultural performers, Captain Marcelo Gallino and Copa Airlines crew, Vice President Valerie Damaseau, Minister of VSA, Omar Ottley, Copa Airlines crew, Management of Halley Aviation Services, Ariana and Priscilla Halley and St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rep, Gianira Arrindell

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (June 01, 2022) - It was a festive atmosphere at the Princess Juliana International Airport on Wednesday, when a delegation representing both the Dutch – and French Tourism Offices, dignitaries, as well as representatives of the Airport, were on hand to welcome the return of Copa Airlines.

The airline resumed flights between St. Maarten (SXM) and Panama City (PTY), nearly two years after the airline suspended its service, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copa Airlines is currently the only carrier offering non-stop services from St Maarten to Central America and will operate twice a week, with flights on Wednesday and Friday, using a Boeing 737 with a seat capacity for 160.

CEO Brian Mingo of Princess Juliana International Airport: “Today I’m very happy and honored to welcome Copa Airlines again to our airport and the island of St Maarten. Copa plays a vital role via its Central American hub and is increasingly important for our hub network in the Caribbean. It was also a pleasure to welcome the Director Chief Pilot of Copa Airlines, Captain Marcelo Gallino, as he flew on the first flight to St. Maarten in 2010”.

Karen Sanne, Regional Sales Manager for Copa Airlines, stated, “Copa Airlines is excited to start operations once again in St. Maarten and continue supporting the development of the region through the connectivity offered by the Hub of the America’s in Panama, connecting the Caribbean with the rest of the continent”.

“With new gateways opening, this gives an opportunity for destination St. Maarten to be able to target new areas in Panama as well as other surrounding regions in Central – and South America. This is definitely a positive development for the island of St Maarten” said May-ling Chun, Director of the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau.

About Copa Airlines

Copa Airlines is a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A. and a member of the Global Star Alliance network. Currently, the airline has 81 active aircraft and operates an average of 275 daily flights through the Hub of the Americas®. Located at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, this hub has the most international flights in the region and is one of the top 10 airports in the world according to Forward Keys data, and from which Copa Airlines connects to more than 70 cities in 30 countries in North, Central and South America and Caribbean. Copa Airlines has been providing services between Panama City (PTY) and St. Maarten since December 18, 2010.

About Princess Juliana International Airport

Princess Juliana International Airport is the second busiest airport in the Northeast Caribbean. It is an important airport hub for Saba, St Eustatius, St Barthelemy, Anguilla, Dominica, Nevis and Tortola. The airport is one of the largest employers on the island. It has 277 workers and an additional 1700 workers within the entire airport community. In 2022 the Sint Maarten airport expects to handle 1.2 million passengers and 54.000 aircraft movements. The reconstruction works of the airport have started in September 2021. By the end of 2022, the departure hall will be ready to use for passengers. In the summer of 2023, the new terminal will be finished. Contractor Ballast Nedam International Projects is actively seeking cooperation with local people and companies which is essential for socio-economic recovery of Sint Maarten.

Historic Timeline

Princess Juliana Airport was officially opened by Princess Juliana in 1944. In 2006 her Majesty Queen Beatrix inaugurated the new terminal building. In 2017 St.Maarten was hit by Hurricane Irma (Cat 5) and the airport’s terminal was heavily damaged. In January 2020 Princess Juliana International Airport signed the WorldBank/EIB loan to reconstruct the terminal. In July 2021 Ballast Nedam International Project was the main contractor selected for the reconstruction of the airport terminal.