News & Media

Biennial Live Emergency Drill Exercise Staged at the Princess Juliana International Airport

A mock scene from the live emergency drill exercise at the airside of the Princess Juliana International Airport.

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Tuesday, November 2, 2021) – Despite the weather conditions, it was a momentous morning at the Princess Juliana International Airport for both the emergency responders and management alike, as the Princess Juliana International Airport in conjunction with the St. Maarten Government Emergency Support Functions Department (Disaster Management) hosted its biennial live Emergency Drill Exercise on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. At approximately 9:40 am the large-scale drill was executed in the proximity of the taxiway BRAVO on the airport’s runway.

The testing of the aerodrome emergency plan is a standard requirement at airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and sanctioned by St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority (SMCAA).

Taking up his post at the Emergency Management Center (EMC) of the control tower, the Airport Chief, Mr. Brian Mingo acknowledged "The mandatory drill exercise serves to evaluate the various emergency agencies' response, procedure, and contingency plans should an aircraft accident occur, on or in the vicinity of the airport. Simultaneously, there was the testing of the quality and the abilities of the procedures as stipulated in the airport’s Emergency Management Manual."

The re-enactment of the large-scale scenario involved students of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). Before the emergency exercise, residents were forewarned by the SXM Airport’s Corporate Communications not to become alarmed, as the mock drill response and rescue operation involved alarming roadway activity by the rescue and firefighting, ambulance, marines, and police units.

In a requested statement on today’s drill, the PJIAE Deputy Fire Chief, Mr. Gerald Baptiste disclosed that the evaluation team will assess the various disciplines (Rescue and Firefighting, Airport Security, Air Traffic Service, Police, Airport Emergency Management Team, and Ambulance) activities and the handling of the mitigation of the entire staged incident, as laid down in the Airport’s Emergency Management Manual. The exercise was followed by a debriefing at the St. Maarten’s Red Cross on the Airport Road and was later deemed a success. During the debriefing the Airport management team extended its gratitude to all players.