100 years of aviation in Aruba celebrated during festivities and events on August 18
ORANJESTAD – On Friday evening multiple dignitaries, representatives of the Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (Aruba Airport) and special invitees gathered at the historic Dakota Building on Bucutiweg for official ceremonies and festivities as part of the centennial aviation celebrations in Aruba. Amongst the special guests this evening were over a dozen pioneers and visionaries of Aruba’s aviation industry who were honored for their remarkable and invaluable contributions to the islands aviation journey.
After showing the video ‘100 years of aviation in Aruba’, Aruba Airport‘s CEO Joost Meijs took to the stage for his speech, followed by speeches by the Minister of Tourism & Public Health, Dangui Oduber, President of the Central Bank of Aruba, Jane Semeleer, and Minister of Finance and Culture Xiomara Maduro. Minister Maduro was also invited to mint the first collectors coin, a first for an Aruban, dedicated to 100 years of aviation in Aruba.
During the festivities a video honored thirtheen ‘Baluartes’, individuals who’s pioneering and visions led to the development of Aruba’s aviation industry today. The following individuals were recognized: Juan Irausquin, Daniel Leo, Ernst Bartels, Michael Kuiperi, Octavio Yrausquin, Manuel Viana, Camilo and Tito Muyale, Frank Arendsz, Osling Toppenberg, Harold Oduber, Willem Vrolijk and Michael Nicholaas. Even though they were recognized as baluartes each on their own, the evening’s celebration was a collective tribute and acknowledgement of all participants in Aruba’s aviation journey during the past century. AAA CEO, Joost Meijs presented the ‘Baluartes’ in attendance with their very own minted coin as special recognition for their contributions.
The Minister of Finance & Culture, Xiomara Maduro also participated in the official unveiling of the Dakota Building and its designation as a Historical Monument for its role as one of Aruba’s first airport terminal buildings. Together with Aruba Airport’s CEO Joost Meijs the Minister placed the “Monumentenbureau” Seal onto the historic building that served as airport terminal from its opening in June 1942 till March 1950.
All members of the 100 Years of Aviation Committee were thanked for the inspiration given and the work displayed during the past year to help turn the centennial aviation celebrations into a great success. Committee Member representatives consisted of A.T.A., AAA, ANSA, DCA, Government of Aruba and aviation expert Agustin Vrolijk received words of praise and appreciation. This concluded the official and ceremonial events on Friday night, commemorating the first landing of an airplane in Aruba exactly 100 years ago, on August 18, 1923.