St Maarten Airport or more officially Princess Juliana International Airport is a world class airport and worldwide famous due to its location almost on the beach ! Indeed St Maarten Airport is also known as Airport beach because its runway is next to Maho Beach. So the Planes landing and take off are quite spectacular from the beach (see pictures below).
But besides its famous location on the beach, St Maarten airport offers all the amenities of a world class airport such as restaurants, gift shops, restrooms, information center, car rental services, taxi services and bus (see our Inside St Maarten airport map).
In addition to commercial flights, St Maarten airport also accommodate cargo planes and private jet planes.
History of St Maarten airport
From a US military airstrip in 1942 to an ultra-modern international airport in 70 years, St Maarten airport has developed to make it one of the busiest in the region, with an average of 1.6 million flights passengers passing through it yearly.
The first commercial flight, a KLM “Kolibrie” plane, touched down on December 3, 1943. The world’s largest plane the Antonov An-255, came calling with relief materials in 1995 following Hurricane Luis and landed in Sint Maarten airport. Even the now defunct Concorde, which at the time was the world’s fastest aircraft, landed on its runway long before this was extended to its current length of 7,659 ft (2,300 m).
The first terminal building quickly became inadequate. Consequently, a new one was built in 1964.
In 1986, the terminal building was remodeled with new departure and arrival halls. In 1997, a master plan was developed resulting in the new US$100 million St Martin airport terminal that was officially opened on November 10, 2006.
Designed to handle some 2.5 million passengers annually, SXM Airport ’s four level is fully air conditioned and has spacious modern terminal facilities with its glass exterior. St Maarten airport has a comfortable Departure Hall with 21 completely duty free shopping retail outlets, and 5 food & beverage outlets with 3 bars.
A separate, 21,527.82 sq ft or 2,000 m2 cargo facility built to handle 10,000 tons of cargo per year exists near the Terminal Building of Sint Maarten airport.