The Minister of Transport, Integrity, Nature and Senior Affairs Ursell Arends, followed by Mrs. Brigit Gijsbers, Director General Aviation and Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands, and by the Chairman of DCCA, Mr. Joost Meijs, CEO of Aruba Airport, welcomed in-person and virtual participants to the event.
The principal theme for this first day was Discovering the undiscovered focusing on the Sustainable Aviation future. Mr. Jorge Rosillo, Corporación América and CEO of the Cargo Terminal of Ecuador, TCE, and the Galapagos Ecological Airport, the 1st ecological airport in the world, delivered the keynote speech. Mr. Rafael Echevarne, Director General of Airports Council International of the Latin America and Caribbean, and Mrs. Marieke Smit, Program Manager of Sustainable Aviation at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands gave a presentation on the roadmap to e-flight.
A historical milestone was reached with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the six Dutch Caribbean islands, the Netherlands, the six airports of the Dutch Caribbean, and the Dutch Association of Airports (NVL). This MOU mainly empowers these islands to explore and establish affordable, efficient, and sustainable air connectivity between Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba. More specifically, explore and stimulate emission-free powered flights to execute the mentioned air connectivity. A total of 15 dignitaries from the six island nations and The Netherlands expressed their commitment to the memorandum and agreed on forming a steering committee and action group working on a Joint Business Plan for how to establish this ambition. This business plan will be delivered within seven months of signing the MOU.
The upcoming conference days will focus on interesting and essential sustainability topics within the following main topics: Built for Experience focusing on Sustainable Tourism, Pushing the limits: changing the Future focusing on Sustainable Airport Operations, Reality Check focusing on current Research and Investments, and Connecting Generations, which will allow the local community to experience the Pipistrel Velis Electro up close.
Free virtual registrations are still available for the event, which will be live-streamed via www.dccaairports.com/live on November 7 through November 11, 2022. For more information on the event and virtual registration, please visit our DCCA website www.dccaairports.com.