The airport has to make structural changes to accommodate pre-clearance as well. Manager of Operations at SXM Airport Michel Hyman was also present in this meeting to brief the Minister on the airport’s activities in preparation for pre-clearance which, if all goes as planned, should be ready next year. Cummins said St. Maarten is “a stone’s throw away from equivalency.”
Also discussed during the meeting was two possible agreements the TSA would like to finalize with St. Maarten; a Federal Air Marshall (FAM) agreement and an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) that would, among other things, provide TSA technical assistance to the airport. Both agreements will be further discussed.
The Cabinet of the Minister has also recently met with Head of the Civil Aviation Department Lou Halley to get an update on the functioning of the department (staffing, technical needs ect) as well as the process of St. Maarten re-acquiring its Category-1 aviation status. All efforts will be put into reaching that goal in the shortest possible time once the department is brought operationally up to par.