Schiphol threatens to withdraw from reconstruction project Sint Maarten airport
PHILIPSBURG – Royal Schiphol Group has threatened to withdraw its support from the terminal reconstruction project as of July 15 if “proper corporate governance” is not re-established at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) before May 26.
This is what Schiphol International director Kjell Kloosterziel told Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Finance Minister Ardwell Irion in a letter on Thursday, May 6.
Kloosterziel wrote that Royal Schiphol Group’s support to the reconstruction project is conditional on proper corporate governance at PJIA operating company PJIAE and PJIA holding company PJIAH.
Schiphol has repeatedly expressed concerns about the airport’s corporate governance in the past month, especially after the firing of PJIAE chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Mingo in early April.
There have also been unconfirmed reports that PJIAH’s management board moved to replace three members of PJIAH’s supervisory board in late April, which may help explain Schiphol’s ultimatum to Jacobs and Irion.
However, this cannot be said for certain. Although the letter speaks of “corporate governance violations” in recent months, it does not name these violations specifically.
But, Kloosterziel does warn that Schiphol will terminate its support to the reconstruction in mid-July unless “proper governance of the airport is re-established in a structural manner before May 26 … in particular at airport holding company PJIAH and management layers of the airport.”
Also by this date, all the “past governance violations” must be “dealt with and corrected”, he said.
It is questionable whether the Netherlands and the World Bank will continue to fund the reconstruction project without Royal Schiphol Group support. This may mean more delays in the rebuilding of the terminal that was extensively damaged in Hurricane Irma almost four years ago.