Chief Executive Officer (PJIAE). Mr. Brian Mingo, says the immediate and combined effort of all stakeholders and interested parties are urgently needed to pull St. Maarten’s premier port of entry, the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) out of its poor financial state.
For the second consecutive month, PJIAE found itself having to juggle cash to meet its liquidity challenges. With the end of the February approaching, the recently appointed CEO says he is building a financial recovery strategy that will require input from all Stakeholders so that PJIAE can lead the way in a new wave of restoration and construction on St. Maarten.
“We will continue to experience cash shortfalls unless we take action now. He said investors cautiously adopted a “Wait & See” attitude as they wait for the economy to pick up again, and most will not expose their capital until they see some strong activity, in areas of our economy such as the airport.
“PJIAE stands ready to be the catalyst for these investors to give them the confidence they need to invest in St. Maarten again. Once the Airport is up and running, the Airlines will further step up their schedules to the island once again, and we can say “we’re really back in business.” said the CEO.
Mr. Mingo further stated that Management and staff at PJIAE have done an amazing job with very little resources and are once again utilizing one-third of the airport’s terminal building, much to the appreciation of travelling passengers. Mr. Mingo notes however, that these passengers are under the misapprehension that the airport’s reconstruction is underway. “What people do not realize is that the main reconstruction phase has not started as yet.” We have spent millions of dollars cleaning up, and some $14 million securing just the roof, explained the PJIAE chief.
What we still need immediately, is a $15 million bridge loan that has been allocated by the Netherlands, so that we can meet our immediate liquidity needs. A final decision on financing is still to be made so that work can begin on the reconstruction plans and the actual start of construction by July 2019. “If all goes as planned and urgent action is taken, we can celebrate the re-opening of our reconstructed airport terminal by Christmas 2020,” said Mr. Mingo.
Mr. Mingo will send a report to the Supervisory Board of Directors (PJIAE) this week, outlining his plans and will promote the urgency for the much-needed airport financing. He is ready to accept, with government and board of director’s approval, the $100 million soft loan from the World Bank (WB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Mingo says government has been supportive of the airport’s struggles up to now, singling out Prime Minister, Hon. Mrs. Leona Romeo-Marlin, Minister of Finance, Hon. Mr. Perry Geerlings and Minister of TEATT, Hon. Mr. Stuart Johnson.
“But it is not our government alone; the Netherlands, Parliament, the Shareholder Representative, the Supervisory and Management Boards and personnel, all need to come together, to fuel the reconstruction of the port of entry.”