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INAUGURATION OF THE NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL AND COMPLETION OF THE EXPANSION PROJECT

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In May of this year, the airport welcomed more than a thousand visitors to the open-day celebration to mark the completion of the Airport Terminal Expansion Project. Buzzing with excitement, the public was able to witness the pride and accomplishment felt by the members of Curaçao Airport Partners (CAP) and the entire team involved in seeing this huge project fulfilled.

CAP is a consortium of private international investors namely Aport (Zurich Airport), Janssen De Jong (Netherlands) and CCR (Brazil). CAP has a 30-year concession agree­ment with the Government of Curaçao, and as the private airport operator, CAP has under­taken the financial, operational and develop­ment responsibility of Curaçao International Airport since 2003. CAP’s vision is to further develop and operate Curaçao International Airport to become one of the best airports in the Caribbean region. Currently, as a result of the improvements, the airport is generat­ing millions of US$ that goes directly to the Government via Curaçao Airport Holding (CAH). As owner of the airport buildings, the surrounding terrains and infrastructure on behalf of the Government of Curaçao, CAH is the supervisor of all airport operations carried out by CAP.

Realizing the impact airport developments have on Curaçao’s economy, CAP and CAH are jointly committed to offer an enhanced and improved facility and will do its part to make certain that the full potential of the airport is achieved. In 2014, the expansion of the Check-In area and airport boulevard was completed. In 2016, there was the inaugura­tion of the Arrivals Hall and the airport food & beverage services and stores. Additionally, the road in front of the airport Arrivals was adjusted into a boulevard for pedestrians providing a safer flow for families, airport employees and users to enjoy this area of the airport while having a clear overview of the surroundings.

It was at that point in 2016, the Airport Terminal Expansion Project was launched to continue the development of the terminal and double the Departure waiting area. In addition to the enhanced areas for arriving, departing and transit passengers, Curaçao International Airport was to gain an additional bridge to accommodate large wide-body aircrafts. Once complete, this project would succeed in optimizing efficiency and provide a smooth travel experience for all passen­gers. The investment for the Airport Terminal Expansion Project was approximately US$35 million with US$25 million invested by CAP and an additional US$10 million from CAH.

The festive day was marked with a ‘runway run’, local music, entertainment, attractions for kids in the car park of the airport, and secured tours of Gate No. 10, (one of the new additions to the international airport). The cel­ebrations started the night before with a spe­cial reception for invited guests and dignitar­ies during which Ralph Blanchard, CEO of CAP, gave a keynote address thanking everyone for their invaluable contribution to the project which included the collective efforts of CAH, Customs and Immigration, Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (MCB) and the employees of CAP. During his speech, Mr. Blanchard noted that there will always be room for further improvement and emphasized the need for a continued drive towards, “Improving the airport until we have tapped into the airport facility’s full potential.” He highlighted the ingredients that are nec­essary for achieving this goal as ‘promotion, awareness, regulatory flexibility and invest­ment.’ Additionally, he was clear to stress the need for the Government and public to inject a newfound energy into the economic growth of the tourism market. In a nutshell he stated, “There’s no other way around it. We succeed or fail based on the number of passengers … that’s the bottom line!”