At the end of the nineties officials announced the start of an extensive reconstruction of Aruba’s airport, dubbed Beatrix 2000, named after Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. The project took about three years to finish.
When the project was delivered people were pleasantly amazed with the newest architectural beauty, it was a building unlike anything else in Aruba and perhaps the Caribbean. It looked sleek and modern and surely was an improvement from before.
Well, the airport was indeed an improvement. The biggest improvement was the added capacity. The airport now could handle much more people, especially on those busy Saturday afternoons. Furthermore now the larger aircrafts could offload passengers via the tunnels which are obviously much faster than old fashioned stairs.
It wasn’t all great however. Critics didn’t seem to like it, they said it was too sterile and dull, which was all true. When you walked into the place is felt like a hospital. There wasn’t anything to do. The departure terminal was fairly empty and the seats in the waiting area were made out off cheap plastic, which was uncomfortable. To make matters worse the airport was losing money and had substantial debts.
Over the last 3 years the situation has been steadily improving. The debt was refinanced, contracts has been renegotiated, operational cost went down, new road markers, automated parking, Caribbean landscaping, runway currently being expanded etc.
Latest improvement was last week’s opening of the new shopping area. It promises to bring variety to the existing shopping. Now you have something to do while waiting for when it’s time to board.
Let’s hope that the prices are not going to be excessively high. Then again, we all know how airports are, it’s going to be excessive.