SABA — As Saba continues to navigate its unique and modernizing journey, Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport emerged as a focal point of progress, pride, and community engagement during its 60th-anniversary celebrations. This wasn’t just another birthday party for the airport; it was a powerful reflection on six decades of innovation and community involvement.
Reinventing Aviation Safety with a New Fire Station
On Friday, August 25th, as part of the landmark celebrations, before the ceremony, the community had the exclusive opportunity to tour the new state-of-the-art fire station located at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport. This modern facility, operational around the clock, represents the culmination of years of planning and collaboration.
The Celebration: More Than an Anniversary
The event began on a musical note with a harmonious performance of the Saba Anthem sung by local students. With Acting Governor Miss Amelia Nicholson’s inspiring opening remarks as she delved into the island's rich aviation history and the community’s commitment to progress. The event continued with keynote speeches providing a unique blend of local and regional perspectives.
Airport Manager Maegan Hassell took to the podium, standing as a living testament to the legacy of Saban resilience, to touch on the history of the airport and shed light on the airport's future. Commissioner Bruce Zagers, who oversees the airport in his portfolio, was also present and delivered a speech on the airport’s history and notable achievements.
The Airport and WINAIR: A Relationship Built to Last
A highlight of the event was the introduction of WINAIR’s new CEO, Mr. Hans van de Velde. His speech affirmed WINAIR’s commitment to continue serving as the aviation bridge connecting Saba to the outside world. Mr. van de Velde presented a special plaque to Maegan Hassell, signifying WINAIR’s dedication to Saba’s growth.
Regional Leaders Weigh In
The occasion was further enriched by guest speakers from neighboring islands, including Brian Mingo of PJIA, and Joost Meijs of Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport, who provided a broader Caribbean aviation context, further elevating the ceremony's significance.
Celebrating Community and Looking Forward
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of plaques of recognition, honoring individuals and organizations that have significantly contributed to the airport's 60-year legacy. These tokens served as a heartfelt acknowledgment of the collective efforts that have made Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport a symbol of Saba’s resilience and progress. This was not just a day of looking back but also a day of “runway vision”, looking forward to the exciting changes coming to the airport, including a two-phase renovation process that will redefine the passenger experience.
Early Saturday morning, August 26th, the community came together for a unique and memorable experience. Participants had the rare opportunity to walk or run the length of the runway, all while taking in the breathtaking scenery and picturesque sunrise. Under the rising sun, Kemaul Lee led a spontaneous exercise circle, encouraging everyone to engage in jumping jacks, squats, and burpees. The event wrapped up with refreshing fruit and johnny cakes, providing a perfect ending to an energizing morning.