St Maarten airport completes departure hall upgrade

Interior view of new St Maarten Princess Juliana Airport departures hall
Photo Credit: Materna IPS

St. Maarten, a picturesque island known for its vibrant culture and stunning beaches, has long been a favored destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure.

Beyond its idyllic shores, however, lies a hidden gem for aviation enthusiasts – Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE).

Nestled adjacent to Maho Beach, this airport offers a unique experience where visitors can view aircraft passing overhead on approach, creating an unforgettable spectacle for avid avgeeks.

Recently, PJIAE underwent an upgrade with the completion of its new Departure Hall, lifting the bar for airport infrastructure in the Caribbean.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Palombo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

SBD System

Materna IPS played a major role role in the upgrade and transformation of Princess Juliana International Airport into a sophisticated, state-of-the-art facility.

Materna’s Self-Bag Drop (SBD) systems enable more open space, while reducing queuing and ensuring a safe, secure, and hassle-free journey.

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Streamlined Check-in Process

Traditionally, checking in luggage at airports often entails long queues and cumbersome processes. However, Materna’s SBD systems have redefined this experience, offering a seamless and hassle-free alternative.

Unlike traditional check-in methods, SBD allows passengers to swiftly drop off their luggage with minimal wait times, freeing up valuable time to explore the airport or relax before their flight.

While SBD systems are not entirely novel in North American airports, their implementation in a shared setting represents a significant innovation.

By enabling multiple airlines to utilize the same infrastructure, Materna has created a collaborative environment that optimizes space and resources.

This shared approach not only enhances efficiency but also fosters a sense of unity among airline partners, ultimately benefiting passengers.

“Materna is proud to work in partnership on such a critical operation with PJIAE and its airline partners. It’s been remarkable to witness this transformation making SXM the most innovative airport in the Caribbean,” said Gary McDonald, President of Materna IPS Americas.

AI and Baggage Handling

Beyond expediting the check-in process, Materna’s SBD systems incorporate advanced technologies to enhance baggage handling and security.

Through integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI), the system can categorize and analyze luggage, streamlining the conveyance process.

If it is determined that an item cannot be conveyed, passengers are instructed to use a special luggage tub – something that commonly occurs with backpacks characterized by loose straps recognized by Materna’s advanced software.

Additionally, built-in security measures ensure that all baggage undergoes rigorous screening, safeguarding against potential threats.


Gary McDonald, President of Materna IPS Americas, concludes “We look forward to continued innovation at this crucial tourist hub,” underscoring the shared focus on continuous improvement and advancement.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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