News & Media

Airport Authorities operate with high vigilance as six passengers were flagged due to travel restrictions

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten Saturday, March 14, 2020) –On Saturday, March 14, 2020, at approximately 2:50 pm, official airport authorities operated in high vigilance, as six (6) passengers onboard were flagged by Immigration officers and denied access to disembark an Air France aircraft. Reports from the Managing Board of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), confirmed that the travel history of six (6) passengers on board originated from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and proved to be a concern as German nationals were traveling on board the flight. As of March 11, 2020, Germany was added to the list of restricted areas of travel to St. Maarten.

The official travel restrictions were issued by the Honorable Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Silveria Jacobs who announced the travel restrictions list via air and sea to St. Maarten, due to the pandemic known as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Passengers and airline crew who have been in China (People’s Republic), Hong Kong (SAR China), Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep.), Macao (SAR China), Singapore, Spain, and Germany in the past 21 days, are not allowed to transit or enter into St Maarten.

SXM Airport Chief Operations Officer, COO, Michel Hyman established that the four (4) German nationals were in-transit through France to St. Maarten with an itinerary showcasing their final destination into St. Barths. These four German nationals were denied entry into the country, based on the travel restrictions and were rerouted to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at approximately 7:30 pm.

The other two (2) passengers were residents of Switzerland, holding Swiss and German passports, with the intention to transit to St. Barths, as their final destination. As Switzerland is not listed on the travel restriction list, they were cleared by Immigration and allowed access into St. Maarten.

"All six passengers remained onboard the aircraft while a preliminary screening was carried out by the Rescue and Firefighting EMT. They did not exhibit the signs and symptoms of a person that is infected with the COVID-19 illness. All passengers also engaged in interviews by members of the Immigration Department. The protection of the people of St. Maarten remains a priority during this pandemic, which is a developing situation throughout the world," declared Battalion Chief, Gerald Baptiste.

Furthermore, the Government of St. Maarten has strengthened its preparations and precautionary measures towards the COVID-19 and effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all international flights and cruises originating from the United States of America, Europe and the United Kingdom to St. Maarten are cancelled for a period of two weeks. These travel restrictions do not apply for regional air and sea travel. Travel within the Dutch Caribbean – Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire, Aruba, and Curacao remain in place until further notice.