Speech | 15-12-2022
Speech by Minister Harbers (IenW) at the official signing of the Bonaire International Airport Master Plan on 14 December 2022.
First of all, I would like to thank Mr Rijna, Thielmans and Van der Scheer for their hospitality during my visit to this beautiful green island. My first visit to this post and I already have a taste for more.
And what a beautiful festive agreement we can celebrate today. Because after so many years, after so many cups of coffee during meetings and conversations, today we can celebrate: The celebratory signing of the Masterplan Bonaire International Airport!
And I think it’s a really good plan we have; it is ambitious and realistic.
Ambitious because it is an extensive project with, in addition to the improvements to flight safety, also a limited expansion of the terminal. In addition to the amount provided by the Netherlands and the public entity Bonaire for the security measures, of 15 million euros and 6 million US dollars respectively, external funding must be sought for this. Fortunately, there is a positive so-called Social Cost Benefit Analysis. In other words, a green light for potential investors.
And it is also realistic, because it concerns improvements, such as a new platform on which the large aircraft can be safely parked. But also a safe walking route to the arrival hall. Improvements are necessary for aviation safety. And that makes the airport more “ICAO-safe”. Furthermore, the expectations for future passenger numbers are well-founded.
It is also nice to see that the design of the airport will retain its local and “sunny” look. With many open-air facilities such as an outdoor walkway to the arrivals hall and a partially open arrivals hall that is also attractive to non-travellers. In short, this master plan does full justice to the potential of Flamingo Airport.
I also welcome that Rijkswaterstaat, present today with all its knowledge and experience, will support Bonaire in the further implementation of the master plan.
But more will happen. You know better than anyone that global aviation faces enormous challenges. Not only does she have to recover from the huge blow after COVID. The sector will also have to take responsibility for tackling the climate crisis by limiting harmful greenhouse gases. A crisis that is also very tangible here on Bonaire and on the other islands. For example, I was in Curaçao yesterday for a conference on climate adaptation in and for the islands. We must move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Also in aviation.
Cleaner and quieter aircraft are the license to operate for a strong future of aviation. At the beginning of November, a conference on electric flight was held in Aruba. It is precisely the flights between the islands that will soon be able to fly electrically. The distances are small, as is the number of passengers, which means that an electric aircraft can be quickly deployed here. With its commitment to sustainability, Flamingo Airport and Bonaire contribute to this. Also, for example, by mounting solar panels on the parking roof.
Finally. I would like to thank Lieutenant Governor Mr. Rijna, Provincial Director Thielmans and other involved parties for the good cooperation in reaching this master plan.
With the contribution, both in commitment and financially from administrative Bonaire, you indicate that you attach great importance to a good and safe airport.
I have full confidence that together with the airport and the executive board, we can translate this Master Plan from paper to practice.
One of my predecessors once said: ‘A flamingo is a model of elegance, but above all stability. Because if you can stand so solidly on one thin leg, then you are stable, you have faith in the future and you feel safe. Essential characteristics of a modern airport!’
I would like to repeat these words here today. Because with the implementation of this Masterplan, this airport can make a healthy and flying start towards a bright future. An airport for tourists, but also an airport for and for the inhabitants of Bonaire! Either: Un aeropuerto pa tur habitante di Boniaru.