On Saturday, March 28th, there were two (2) charter flights scheduled to land at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to repatriate passengers to their home countries. Both requests for landing were officially approved by the Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs.
The Government of Aruba requested a charter flight to repatriate Aruban nationals currently in St. Maarten, and the Adtalem Global Education, the parent company of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), which operates three schools in the Caribbean, was the other company to request the chartered flight.
On March 13, 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak continued to spread globally, AUC on St. Maarten, along with the other two institutions, made changes to their academic programs and gave students the option to return to their home countries. One of the reasons given to the Government of St. Maarten for this decision, was to minimize additional strain on the healthcare systems of the islands if they were to encounter the worse.
With drastic travel restrictions being implemented worldwide, Adtalem arranged a charter flight for its U.S./Canadian students and expatriate employees who wanted to return to these countries. The chartered flight arrived first in Barbados on Saturday, March 28, 2020, picking up passengers from that island, then to St. Kitts and St. Maarten, and then flying to the U.S. No passenger or flight crew were granted permission to disembark the aircraft.
Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs encouraged passengers leaving PJIA to practice proper hygiene and remain two (2) meters away from persons while traveling back to their home countries.