Saba airport celebrates 60 with launch of its new IATA logo

Saba’s Juancho Irausquin Airport celebrat­ed its 60th anniversary on Friday with the unveiling of a new green and yellow International Air Transport Association (IATA) logo.

In her address, Airport Manager Maegan Hassell, who is the granddaughter of Saba’s first airport man­ager George Leo Hassell, pointed out that the air­port began operations on July 24, 1963, and officially opened its doors on Sep­tember 18, 1963.

She also corrected a long-running error of spelling the official name as “Yraus­quin” instead of “Iraus­quin”.

Maegan also highlighted the pioneers who contribut­ed to Saba’s airport becom­ing a reality, such as Remy de Haenen, who became the first pilot to land on Saba on February 9, 1959.

Others recognised were then-Commissioners Mat­thew Levenstone and Ar­thur Anslyn, who champi­oned for Saba to have its own airport, and former Netherlands Antilles Fi­nance Minister Juancho Enrique Irausquin, who secured financing from the Dutch government for the airport’s construction and after whom the airport is named.

Windward Islands Air­ways International Winair co-founder George Greaux Sr. showed great deter­mination in those earlier years to provide connectiv­ity between the islands, said Maegan. She also acknowl­edged the Johnson family, who are the local Winair agents, for “their dedica­tion that is parallel to that of the late Freddie John­son.”

Special guests from the neighbouring islands joined Saba’s celebrations, includ­ing Dutch St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Interna­tional Airport operating company PJIAE chief ex­ecutive officer (CEO) Bri­an Mingo and new Winair CEO Hans van de Velde; Mackencia Lavaud of French St. Martin’s Grand Case Airport; Fabrice Danet of St. Barths’ Gustav III Airport; and Joost Meijs of Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport.

The first-ever runway walk/run was held on Saturday morning to mark Saba’s airport’s 60th anniversary. Participants had the unique opportunity of running or walking across the runway while engaging in various exercises. Photo by Julio Every.


Saba’s airport has seen many changes since it opened its doors 60 years ago, including the construc­tion of a new terminal facil­ity following the destruc­tion Hurricane Georges caused the island in 1998.

Maegan said the airport will also be undergoing a two-phase renovation pro­cess, which will be finalised in the coming months.

The master plan for Saba’s airport was drafted in 2013. Several actions in this plan have been completed, said Maegan. These include the partial removal of the hillside to better accom­modate landings, replacing perimeter fences, resurfac­ing the runway, installing a runway lighting system to ensure safe nighttime med­ical evacuation flights, pur­chasing new meteorologi­cal equipment, trainings for staff, and the construction of a generator and storage room.

“Today’s celebration is a reflection on history, recog­nition of the faces of today, and a bit of what the future might hold,” Maegan said. “The key to the continued services at the airport is the commitment and collabo­ration of staff of the various departments. You all de­serve to feel valued and ap­preciated. Together we can look back with satisfaction on the past 60 years, and at the same time this anniver­sary should give us strength and confidence for the time ahead.”

A new fire station was re­cently built at the airport and will be opened later this year. Before the start of Friday’s official cer­emony, those interested in the new fire station could have had a look inside the facility, which is an upgrade from the one-room office formerly occupied by the firefighting team.

“With the new fire station fully operational, it means a lot for the team and me,” said Saba Fire Chief Julio Every in an invited com­ment. “This has been a mis­sion for me since 2014, and today we can all be proud of this accomplishment.”

The Daily Herald.


WINAIR congratulates Saba airport on 60th anniversary
Police officers change shirts during the summer months

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