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Joost Meijs’ Farewell Speech: AUA Airport Shines as a Caribbean Jewel

Last week, two fantastic events were organized in the new terminal for “US Departure” at Aruba (AUA) Airport. The first event was dedicated exclusively to the employees of Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (AAA), while the second event was for all stakeholders in the airport and the entire aviation industry. Over 400 guests had the opportunity to bid farewell to the outgoing CEO of AUA Airport, Joost Meijs.

The second event saw the presence of the Governor of Aruba, the Prime Minister, Minister Danguillaume Oduber, members of Parliament, airport authorities, and all partners and stakeholders in the aviation industry.

Both events featured various speeches and presentations on the development of the Gateway 2030 project. Guests enjoyed the exchange of gifts, delicious food, excellent hospitality, and a delightful atmosphere.

“Yes, as promised, it is now time for my final words. I clearly remember the welcome speeches five years ago, given by Prime Minister Wever-Croes, Minister Oduber, and the then Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Marion Kan. All were quite similar in raising the pressure on the AAA team and me to fulfill their wishes: Execute the Gateway 2030 project in an organized, controlled, and well-managed manner,” said Joost Meijs in his farewell speech.

It was fitting that Joost Meijs’ farewell took place in the newly delivered terminal, which passengers traveling to the United States will soon start using as part of Phase 1A of the Gateway 2030 project. At the beginning of his tenure as CEO, this became his most important task: implementing the major investment in the airport terminal and the infrastructural part under the name Gateway 2030. The first phase, the new and modern baggage handling system, and the construction of a new check-in area for US flights, is now completed and delivered. This phase involved an investment of over $140 million and was executed by various local construction companies. The construction of the second phase of Gateway 2030, the “hold room” and “gate areas” to accommodate more aircraft on the ramp, is set to begin in the second half of 2024.

“Today, with the celebration of the delivery of the first phase of Gateway 2030, the entire AAA team has demonstrated that they can execute the Gateway 2030 program. Ladies and gentlemen, to be modest, Aruba Airport has a fantastic team, and thanks to their hard work and enormous commitment, together with my management colleagues, the airport has become so successful in implementing the new business strategy,” Joost Meijs continued.

Unfortunately, AUA Airport is not yet ready to announce who will take on the role of CEO now. The process is in good hands with the Royal Schiphol Group, the supervisory board, and the Government of Aruba as the owner; all are convinced that soon they will choose the best candidate to fill the CEO position.

At the end of his speech, Joost Meijs thanked the Government of Aruba, the supervisory board, the shareholders, Royal Schiphol Group, and his colleagues for their trust, assistance, critical comments but above all, for their professional friendship and simply for being his colleagues. “I am convinced that you all will ensure that the airport continues on the right path. Aruba and the airport are a jewel in the Caribbean, and they deserve to keep shining. I will certainly miss you all very much,” concluded Joost Meijs.

Joost Meijs, CEO of Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (AAA) since August 2019, is now leaving our island after his five-year term. During his tenure, together with the management team and employees of AAA, several improvements were achieved in recent years. These include not only the Gateway 2030 project but also the development of AUA Airport to become the most sustainable, secure, and well-prepared airport for the future in South America and the Caribbean. Today, AUA Airport consistently invests in its four strategic pillars: the development of its employees, the quality of its service and airport infrastructure, innovations and new opportunities, sustainability, and social responsibility.

Aruba Tourist Channel