The signing of a modernised bilateral Open Skies Agreement between the US and St. Maarten (see related story) is good news. It not only indicates a commitment to continue fostering travel and business between the two countries, but promotes such by cutting red tape and clarifying essential matters.

Although obviously unrelated, this show of confidence in the island’s aviation sector is all the more welcome after Wednesday’s tragic fatality at the runway fence during a plane’s take-off. As pointed out before, Princess Juliana International Airport SXM and local authorities have done just about all they can to warn of the danger and discourage purposely getting directly behind the jet engines right into the powerful jet blast, but people simply still do so for the thrill.

The agreement signed by American Consul to the Dutch Caribbean Margaret Hawthorne and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher is also in line with efforts to have US Pre-Clearance at the Airport like they already do in Aruba. If this can be achieved along with getting back into the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Category One, it would certainly help the destination attract and maintain competitive airlift from the main source market for its tourism economy, so that the future may look bright.

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