Minister responsible for Aviation Affairs Claret Connor and the Department of Civil Aviation and Shipping and Maritime would like to advise the public against the use of remote piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in Sint Maarten, particularly in the area near Simpson Bay. This advisory comes in the wake of these aircraft systems being operated off vessels in the Simpson bay lagoon and in the Simpson Bay area adjacent to Runway 28.
These aircraft systems pose a danger to landing and departing aircrafts at the airport and should not be operated in the area or anywhere on Sint Maarten without the express approval from the Department. It should also be stressed that no one shall engage in aerial work in the airspace of Sint Maarten without approval.
Operations that fall under the category of aerial work are aerial photography, aerial mapping, turtle or fish spotting just to name a few. Any individual that wishes to conduct these activities in Sint Maarten must submit a request to the Department of Civil Aviation, Shipping & Maritime Affairs where it will be reviewed and a time and day will be provided when the operation can take place, if approved.
Article 25 of the Aviation National Ordinance prohibits operating objects in the airspace over Sint Maarten in a manner that may threaten safe operations of aircrafts at the airport. Individuals who are found to be operating such systems in violations of this notice will be knowingly endangering air travel to Sint Maarten and will be considered acting in violation of the aforementioned ordinance, for which the individual can be subjected to various penalties and fines.
Aviation safety is the primary concern of the Department and it is in all of our interest that everything is done to prevent a serious aviation related accident from occurring on Sint Maarten. An aviation accident would have serious consequences for the tourist industry which would in turn negatively affect the islands economy.