#MontegoBay, October 5, 2018 – Jamaica – The Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay is being hailed as a signature landmark for brand Jamaica and the premier gateway to the Caribbean. Now in its 15th year of operation under an MBJ Airports Limited lease agreement, SIA, which connects Jamaica to more than 50 international destinations, has among its notable achievements, a record 4.2 million passengers passing through its corridors in 2017.
It also has the distinction of being named the Caribbean’s Leading Airport for nine consecutive years by the reputable World Travel Awards, often refereed as “Oscars” of the tourism and travel industry. Additionally, it provides employment to more than 150 Jamaicans, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MBJ Airports Limited, Dr. Rafael Echevarne, informs.
“We have really come a long way as a team and I can promise you that the best is yet to come. Also, it’s not just that we are celebrating 15 years… it’s kind of how we got here…and some of the initial challenges we faced,” he adds.
Dr. Echevarne says another feature of the past 15 years is MBJ’s willingness to constantly improve the facility’s physical infrastructure to create an authentically Jamaican experience for the travelling public.
The CEO contends that the airport is “is yet another example of how Jamaica is setting the bar for the entire region”.
“For the past three years, we have been working on a number of initiatives with the ultimate goal being to improve the passenger experience by reducing queues at security check points,” he tells JIS News.
Dr. Echevarne further notes that MBJ Limited has been displaying Jamaican art throughout the airport and has ensured that “all our retail concessionaires improve their product offering for the travelling public”. He advises that several events have been held, and are scheduled this year to commemorate MBJ Airport Limited’s the 15-year milestone association with SIA.
“We just had an official celebration at the airport where a historical exhibit and a commemorative sign were unveiled. This was followed by an Airport Forum and also a visit by airport stakeholders, schools and civic groups, who came to view the Hurricane Hunter aircraft at the airport,” the CEO informs.
He adds that MBJ Limited will continue to support the St. James community throughout 2018 with its “Change for Children” initiative among several other programs. Change for Children, he explains, funds projects that support the growth and development of children in Montego Bay. Dr. Echevarne says MBJ Limited also continues to support the Autism Centre in Brandon Hill, and Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, through this initiative.
“MBJ recently partnered with Spot Valley High School to provide mentorship support and, in addition, hosted a Labour Day project at the school on 23 May. MBJ will also continue to participate in charity marathons and coastal clean-ups,” he adds
For his part, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, said MBJ Limited must be commended for transforming Sangster Interntional Airport into a world class facility that all Jamaicans can be proud of.
“They took over the facility 15 years ago and we all can see the improvements with our very own eyes.We all feel the sense of pride and the knowledge that we are an important part of the aviation sector,” Councillor Davis says.
By: Garwin Davis (JIS)