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World Bank signs US$72-million grant to restore world-famous St Maarten airport

A US$72 million grant was today signed between the World Bank and the Government of Sint Maarten to fund a reconstruction project for the well-known Princess Juliana International Airport.

The Princess Juliana International Airport was damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
(Photo: rtp.pt)

The Sint Maarten Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project is aimed at restoring full-service to the airport that was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

According to a release by the global institution, the Project is geared at returning Princess Juliana its capacity prior to the devastation wreaked by the Category 5 system.

The airport is known for its proximity to the Maho beach which makes it ideal for plane watching. (Photo: businessinsider.com)

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed, said “The project aims to restore the airport terminal to its pre-hurricane capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year,” adding that “It also uses ‘building back better principles’ to strengthen resilience to future extreme weather events, thereby supporting continuity of services for an airport that is a critical link for regional transportation.” 

“Tourism is the backbone of Sint Maarten’s economy, so restoring the full capacity of the airport is of vital importance to the economic recovery and development of our country.”

– Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs

In addition to the US$72 million grant, managed by the World Bank and financed by the Netherlands Government under the Sint Maarten Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, there is an additional US$57 million that will be put towards the Project. US$50 million will be contributed by the European Investment Bank while a further US$7 million is being provided by the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company (PIJAE).

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed
(Photo: World Bank Jamaica Office)

Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Silveria Jacobs said “I’m very pleased with the signing of the agreements of the World Bank and the European Investment Bank for the financing of the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport. Tourism is the backbone of Sint Maarten’s economy, so restoring the full capacity of the airport is of vital importance to the economic recovery and development of our country.”

The Sint Maarten Trust Fund provides grant financing and technical support to Sint Maarten in line with the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs

The Princess Juliana International Airport was made popular because of its unusual proximity to the Maho Beach, which puts visitors in the direct flight path of aircraft. This has made the beach popular with plane watchers and tourists trying to get photos.