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21 JUNE 2021


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Article from BTNews 21 JUNE 2021

Caribbean report

Our regular reporter Alison Chambers returned from St Maarten via Paris CDG yesterday (Sunday 20 June) but got caught in a 2hr 30min queue at Heathrow T2 immigration after an otherwise smooth, yet busy flight and efficient transit.

She was returning from St Maarten (Netherlands Antilles), an island just 35 miles square (the Isle of Wight is 150 square miles), home for 80,000 and split more or less 50/50 between France and the Netherlands, with English the lingua franca.  Its airport, Princess Juliana International, is very busy, primarily welcoming American tourists.  The US is certainly back for air travel. 

Alison writes:

The fifth edition of CARIBAVIA, the Caribbean’s airline and business aviation summit and retreat, was held last week at Simpson Bay Resort, on the Dutch side of St Maarten.  With its own unique vibe, delegates mingled with an audience including ministers and chief of staffs, a yoga instructor and workers from the Pointe Blanche local prison who joined a day long etiquette and customer excellence presentation.  

The event is the vision of Cdr Bud Slaebbert, a Belgian-born aviation development consultant, revered in the Caribbean for bringing aviation together.  CARIBAVIA is high on quality, calibre of attendants and content.  For networking and collaboration it was highly useful.  Topics included next gen aircraft, future airport experience, illegal charter, Heli yachting, airline services in the Caribbean and the importance of tourism.  We started each day at 07:00 with yoga, overlooking the ocean. As the conference wrapped up it was off to Maho Beach to photograph and video the iconic airliner landings.  So much admin with PCR tests, passenger locators, and now 10 days' isolation – but it was worth it.  No question.

Alison Chambers was a guest and contributor.

Also see Connecting at CDG in last week’s BTN.



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