Interior of the Queen Beatrice Airport expansion.

The present Queen Beatrice Airport in the Antilles was built in 1972 and has recently undergone a massive upgrading. The airport’s capacity of 1.8 million passengers is expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2010, with the island confident of a continuing increase in traffic, not least because of the health of its tourism industry. The island has a treaty arrangement with the USA to allow easier access for US visitors.

The Queen Beatrice Airport expansion was sponsored by Aruba Airport Authority NV (AAA), which is a state-owned limited liability corporation formed in January 1997. In 2000 there were 38,000 airport movements and over 2 million passengets passed through the airport. The facility covers 40,500m³.


The overall name for the expansion of the airport was Beatrix 2000 and it is spread over two phases. The first was completed at the end of 1999 and included the construction of a number of new buildings as well as the installation of ticket counters, baggage handling systems and loading bridges. The second phase was completed at the end of 2000 and included the addition of two baggage handling carousels as well as various building additions. The airport is now equipped with a voice/dial communication system, state of the art air navigation systems and top of the range air traffic control facilities.

The expansion includes a US-bound passenger terminal building with 42 check-in counters as well as US customs and immigration pre-clearance facilities. An international (non US-bound) passenger terminal building is also being constructed with 24 check-in counters, airline ticket sales offices, a three-level concourse with airline operational space as well as:

  • A ‘remote’ hold room at ground level
  • Eight passenger boarding bridges with lounges at the second level
  • An immigration corridor for arriving passengers at the third level


The existing terminal building has been remodelled to form an arrivals only hall with Aruba immigration and customs, airport administrative offices and external ticket sales offices, a new flight information display system (FIDS), new terminal signage and expanded baggage handling systems for both outbound and inbound baggage.

The engineering for the expansion includes:

  • A water-cooling plant housing a/c chillers for entire terminal complex
  • A power house with emergency stand-by generators
  • A walkway and garden facilities between the existing terminal buildings
  • A terminal access road and improved bus and taxi parking facilities
  • An automated aircraft parking system
  • A security system
  • A fire protection system
  • A water tank for potable water and fire fighting and pumping systems
  • A sanitary system


The turnkey contractor for the project is PB Kennedy & Donkin (PBKD), a well-known name in the industry.


The money for the expansion has been raised via a bond issue. No less than $62 million of bonds were issued in the first US dollar denominated bond issue by an Aruban authority. This is in addition to an additional $23 million of authority funds.