Upgrades at Saba’s Airport amidst Pandemic Downtime

Upgrades at Saba's Airport amidst Pandemic Downtime

The Bottom, Saba – As of May 1st, Winair added more daily flights to Saba, going from only charters during the beginning of the pandemic when Saba’s borders were closed to two and then four flights a week when the strict measures were relaxed in November. Now, with the next phase of reopening, the Juancho Yrasquin airport has a semblance of life getting back to normal.

During the past months, although things were quieter than usual where air traffic was concerned, the airport has undergone some necessary upgrades. There’s been some training for staff and updates on processes.

Airport Certification

Airport Operating Certificates serve to ensure safety in air transportation. To obtain a certificate, an airport must agree to certain operational and safety standards and provide for such things as firefighting and rescue equipment. Saba is in the process of applying for its airport certification. An airport certificate is an official document issued by the Regulatory Authority, the ILT (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport) supported by an aerodrome manual demonstrating that the airport or aerodrome for which it was issued meets specific Air Safety-Related Criteria. The aerodrome manual includes all pertinent information on the aerodrome site, facilities, services, equipment, operating procedures, organization, and management, including a safety management system.

Online Training

All AFISO officers and airport security staff completed two online courses: Airside Safety and Safety Management Systems by ACI. In support of the certification process, staff received an online Safety Management System course. The creation and implementation of a safety management system (SMS) is an integral part of the aerodrome manual. The objective of an SMS is to provide a structured management approach to control safety risks in operations. The airside safety course served as a refresher to review and receive updated information on the various roles and responsibilities required to maintain a high level of safety, the significant elements of airside safety, and some of the common hazards that they may encounter.

New Installations

Red Alert and the IT Department have started up the remote installation of the Access Control & CCTV system. The airport will enhance security by installing a CCTV system and controlled access points.


Renovations to the tower and second floor, which hold all communication equipment, are in the planning stage with the Planning Bureau. The upgrades will include window repairs, adding on a bathroom, correctional plaster repairs, water settling issues, and more. The construction of a long-overdue storage room to house a new generator for the building, the airport vehicle, and airport equipment was completed.AGL engineering carried out maintenance of the runway lights in March 2021, which entailed annual preventative maintenance and repairs.

Parking Lot

Because of the construction of the new Rescue and Fire Fighting (RFF) building, parking spaces are now limited. For this reason, we advise that cars should not be left parked at the airport for longer than 24 hour periods.

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