Something to be Proud Of: Reina Beatrix Airport

Something to be proud of

Peter at AAAAeropuerto International Reina Beatrix

Oranjestad – When the new Aruba 2000, Reina Beatrix Airport finally opened – it got delayed when under construction, budgets for beautification and interior design ran dry.

Critics of the project complained it was spacious and modern but cold and industrial. That was then, circa the year 2000. Fast forward to April 2004, when the Aruba Airport Authority entered into a Strategic Co-operation Agreement with Schiphol International, which is the division responsible for the international activities of the Schiphol Group, owners and managers of amongst others Amsterdam’s mega famed facility.

After a period of planning and construction, at the end of 2007, the updated and improved Reina Beatrix Airport unveiled its new heart, a stylish and contemporary customer and retail project with improved restaurants and redesigned retail areas, a nicely decorated arrival hall with free use of baggage carts, and many other terrific features, under the management of the dynamic Peter Steinmetz.

Steinmetz was at the helm of the renovations as well, engaging local designer Claudia Ruiz Vasquez to come up with fine detail and custom furnishings and naturally, a tropical, relaxing and engaging color scheme.

Their creative collaboration resulted in commercial retail upgrading with 11 food & beverage outlets and 2,245m2 of space inside; landscaping, improved parking facility with automated features and good signage, outside.

The swanky new terminal for General Aviation also opened a few months earlier, but you only get to see it, if you are privileged to fly a private plane.

The airport now offers passengers a wide variety of shops and food & beverage locations. Among shops Dufry’s duty free liquor, tobacco, perfume and cosmetic emporiums, Delicatessen, bookstores, souvenir shops and an inviting store for sunglasses and luggage. The main concession area delivers first class meeting places, a full service bar with apron-landing-strip-scape, a sushi restaurant, a gourmet coffee stand, Cinnabon treats, an ice-cream parlor, a Sbarro Pizza walk-through as well as a huge chocolate boutique and dining table and chairs in the center. There are also shops available within the US bound gate area and some shopping within the non-US bound departure gate area.

As the first plane landed here in July 24, 1925, a Hydro-aircraft IDOR, touching ground in the Paardenbaai harbor of Oranjestad, the former Lt. Governor Mr. H.E.G. Wagemaker of Aruba presented the initial plans for the construction of an airport for the island by 1933.

In December 1934, the first tri-engine Fokker aircraft SNIP, landed in the vicinity of today’s airport and regular flights between Aruba and Curaçao started in 1935, with a record of 2659 passengers transported that year.

With a great new facility, passengers nowadays go to the airport early to finish their shopping, they used to complain there was nothing to do, nothing to eat, now you can shop, nosh, eat, browse your computer, watch TV, and soon, automated check-in kiosks would come on-line making the whole process faster. And the US & Aruban security checks will be integrated, and a VIP lounge made available at a small charge, stand by, for an even more efficient experience at Reina Beatrix Airport.