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Making the connection

Article - January 26, 2012
The capital's airport has benefitted from professional management provided by N.V. Luchthavenbeheer
Within the scope of urban developments taking place in Suriname, significant and much-needed investments are being pumped into Suriname’s transport sector.

Land travel amelioration is focused on rehabilitating and extending east-west connectivity on to French Guyana, and opening up regions where communities live. CIA figures indicate that to-date Suriname has a total 4,304 km of roadways, of which 1,130 km – less than one third – are paved. Other asphalting projects include the Port of Paramaribo and Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (JAP) Airport in the capital.

Improving infrastructure and transport will allow Suriname to properly accommodate a boosting tourism industry, lured by the natural attractions of the country “such as a unique biodiversity, river cruising, bird watching, sport fishing, tracking and jungle adventure tourism, visits to traditional indigenous villages, heritage, and culture,” explains Falisie Pinas, Minister of Transport, Communication  and Tourism.

Suriname airports have become the target of expenditures so that “the first thing people will see when they arrive is an airport that reflects the hospitality and the warmth of Suriname,” explains Steven Vrieze, General Manager of the Airport Management Company, N.V. Luchthavenbeheer.

Operators of JAP Airport, N.V. Luchthavenbeheer officially took over its management in 1996, following failed attempts by a combination of ministries, and has since overseen numerous renovation works – some of which are ongoing – which include a new terminal, training human capital, boosting commercial and security facilities and revamping the runway.

“One of the goals of the airport, which fits in with the vision of the country, is to develop it as a hub for the region; mostly a hub from South America towards the Caribbean, Europe, and North America,” explains Mr. Vrieze.

JAP Airport is envisioned to set global standards and its design contemplates accommodating economic prosperity for the country in the future. “In the master plan there’s also a free zone around the airport where investors can come in and set up their companies,” adds Mr. Vrieze. “If somebody from Sao Paulo wants to meet somebody from New York, they can come to JAP Airport, have the meeting and go back.”

This project is undoubtedly a catalyst of socioeconomic development, as all businessmen and tourists arriving to the capital will pass through here. Near-future plans include getting direct flights to the U.S., due to their close relations with U.S. authorities.

Suriname’s indisputable objective is improved connectivity, flow of goods and persons within the country and with its neighbors, as well as increased trade. The American market is considered vital to the future of the country, and N.V. Luchthavenbeheer is hoping to get direct flights to the United States next year.