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Caribbean-On-Line / St. Barts / Transportation / St. Maarten Airport Updates

St. Maarten Airport Updates

Restrictions on Baggage Handling In the past, St Barth Commuter staff could retrieve its passengers' yellow-ribbon tagged checked luggage when they arrived in St Maarten and transfer it to their plane to St Barth. However, procedures at the new airport now require that all baggage handling must be done by the groundhandling company, Menzies. St Barth Commuter customers will now have to go through immigration, retrieve their luggage and take it to the transit check-in counter. However, passengers flying to St Barth on private charters or shared charters can still go straight through the transit security checkpoint to the Departure Lounge as long as they escorted by an official agent of the chartered plane. These agents are also allowed to collect and transfer their luggage to the chartered plane.

New Immigration Control and Registration System in the Near Future As stated by Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards in the St Maarten Daily Herald, "A pilot project of a computerized immigration registration and border control system will be introduced at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) shortly." The system, called VROSNA, will be used to register all people entering and leaving St Maarten. Each person's passport or visa will be scanned as well as other identification cards and drivers' licenses. In addition, passengers will be photographed and, pending legislation, fingerprints will be taken. The system will be linked to police headquarters and is viewed as one of the main tools in border control and the fight against crime. Terminals and scanners will be installed in phases at the 10 immigration booths for arriving passengers and the five booths for departing passengers. Training of the immigration officials was to begin this week. Future plans call for the VROSNA terminals to also be placed at the seaports and at the Simpson Bay bridge. Lt. Governor Richards mentioned that "this new process might cause some minor delays and inconvenience for travelers" and he asked for everyone to be patient. Be sure to allow even more extra time for making your connection to St Barth!

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