Aruba Airport’s future shines bright with expanded connections and growth expectations
2022 will be a record year ever since 2019 for Aruba Airport’s traffic numbers, almost recovering the 2019 number of passengers handled whilst seat capacity exceeds those 2019 numbers. With a recovery of 34% in 2020 and a further recovery of 69% in 2021 versus 2019 a recovery of 95% -100% is expected for 2022. For 2023 and beyond pre-pandemic levels will once again be reached.
Airlines have proven to be quite resilient and able to ramp up their operations quickly and sustainably ever since tourism was welcomed back to Aruba in 2020. The demand for leisure travel has increased considerably due to pent-up demand that has been prevalent throughout the travel industry. A more nimble and collaborative approach towards working with the airlines has born its fruits. New techniques to be able to capture these opportunities entail exploring the underlying competitive challenges that small airports face in retaining or enhancing commercial air service. New data collection techniques in conjunction with historical global demand and industry capacity data is used to predict demand in a manner that works effectively even when prior year results become less representative.
With these positive developments, AAA is now seeing some significant interest and opportunities to expand the current network allowing for diversification of source markets. In 2022 growth opportunities have further developed in the European, Latin America, North America, and Caribbean markets which translated into new airlines and new routes for Aruba Airport. Southwest initiated daily service out of Orlando. Sarpa Airlines started operations out of Medellin and Barranquilla, Colombia thrice weekly and Wingo followed in their footsteps with twice weekly service out of Medellin. Jet Air and Arajet, new players out of the Caribbean region commenced twice weekly service out of respectively Curacao and Santo Domingo. Topping this all off with British Airways starting in March of 2023 with two weekly flights from Gatwick, UK.
In 2021 Aruba Airport processed 1,842,864 passengers and over 24 thousand aircraft movements. As an important economic force, Aruba Airport is highly involved in the efforts of continued, sustainable growth of tourism, improving the inter-island connectivity within the ABC islands and the Caribbean, and exploring the future of aviation including electric flying.
The Gateway 2030 expansion project is currently well underway and includes terminal expansion and upgrades whilst taking green certification standards into account and by introducing new and sustainable technology. Additions will include expanded capacity in the arrival area, security area, baggage handling systems, hold rooms, bus gates and a shopping plaza. The current phase 1A will be completed in 2024 and the subsequent phases that form part of the entire Gateway 2030 project are being developed, designed, and determined this year.
Aruba Airport’s future looks bright and sunny and at Aruba Airport we will continue to strive for the creation of pleasant and authentic airport experiences for our airlines, our travelers, and our airport community in general, whilst doing this in an as sustainable manner as possible.