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Wednesday, 22 May 2013 08:50

 

ORANJESTAD — 2012 was a record year for Reina Beatrix Airport as regards the traffic of paying passengers. This is mainly due to the number of flights and passengers from Latin America. Aruba Airport Authority (AAA) presented the annual returns to the press yesterday.By Ariën Rasmijn

 

 

The airport handled 1.6 percent more passengers in 2012 than in 2011. The number of departing (paying) passengers from Aruba increased with 4.5 percent, which is still less than the worldwide average of 5.3 percent but slightly more than AAA had expected. This is due to the current economic crisis, especially in Europe. The milestone of one million paying passengers was also reached in 2012 for the first time.

The number of tourists from Europe decreased with almost 6.6 percent in 2012 compared to previous years. North America is still the largest market with a share of 60 percent and a slight growth of 0.9 percent. Remarkable was the strong growth of passengers from Canada. AAA-director Pieter Steinmetz pointed out that the increase in the number of passengers was mainly due to the Latin American market. The number of passengers from Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, Argentine and Brazil increased with 15.2 percent, while those from the other island in the Kingdom increased with 13.3 percent.

 

Less profit

Also the number of aircrafts handled by the Reina Beatrix Airport in 2012 increased with 6.8 percent to a total of 41.530. Steinmetz pointed out this was mainly due to the number of flights that General Aviation had handled. This number increased with almost 20 percent and General Aviation ended up handling 27 percent of the total number of aircrafts at the airport, and usually regards private flights from Venezuela. AAA had to pay 3.3 percent on personnel last year due to the new cao (collective labor agreement). Electricity consumption went up due to new hangars and shops. As AAA had to make a once-only payment to the government, the net profit in 2012 was 5 percent less compared to 2011, namely 16.3 million florins. Steinmetz explained it’s customary to the government a dividend of 25 percent of the net profit, plus the payments for tax on profit and dividend tax. In 2012 it regarded a net amount of just over 4 million florins.

 

‘Growth continues’

Steinmetz pointed out that the growth continued in the first months of 2013. The number of paying passengers increased with 5 percent in the first four months. The number of passengers from the US and Canada increased with approx. 2 percent and from Venezuela with almost 30 percent, compared to 2012. Steinmetz: “We find that remarkable.” On the other hand there are fewer flights from Amsterdam. Compared to last year the number of aircrafts increased with 4 percent in the past four months.”

 

New master plan

AAA has a loan of over 84 million dollars for the master plan from 1998, which Steinmetz hopes to pay off in 2015. What follows is a new master plan for the next twenty years (the former continued up to 2012) and a new financing. This master plant will focus on increasing the capacity and security on the platform, and a new helipad and underground refueling of aircrafts. Although Steinmetz didn’t want to mention an amount yet, he indicated it would be less than the financing for the previous master plan.

 

Casino

The Parliament gave AAA the go-ahead to find a new manager for the casino at the airport. This casino was built under the previous MEP-government to provide Fundacion Lotto Pa Deport with extra income. However, Lotto suffered an operational loss of over 2 million florins. During the press conference of AVP yesterday parliamentarian Juan David Yrausquin (AVP) stated that amendments were made in the regulation. The new casino manager at the airport will pay 4 percent tax. Furthermore, the concession to the new operator will be given through a public contract.