St. Barths Infamous Airport

Now, here's an adventure

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The Very Memorable St. Barths Airport Landing

Although the 2100-foot long runway has been resurfaced at St. Barts R?my de Haenen Airport (formerly Gustav III), it still isn't any longer and the flight here remains an adventure.

Located in a valley between two mountains, the airport has a large hill at its approach end and a Caribbean beach at the end of its runway. Overshoot the landing and the plane literally will land in the Caribbean sea.

When landing, pilots not only have to account for the big hill, Mt. Tourment, which ends just in front of the runway, they have to ignore the traffic circle sitting atop the hill and the distraction of waving tourists who stand several yards below a plane's approach path. In addition, the mountainous terrain causes unwanted turbulence.

St Barths Airport, Gustav III, Airport Code: SBH, can take only small 19-seat commuter planes. Pilots require special training for such a short airstrip. Night landings are out of the question.

Most visitors first fly into nearby Dutch St. Maarten at Juliana Airport. Then they take a 10-20 minute flight to St. Barths. It certainly beats a ferry for convenience. From Guadeloupe, the flying time is about 45 minutes.

Because of the restricted luggage and the adventure of landing on a windy day, some people refuse to fly into St Barts.

They come by ferry from St. Maarten or St. Martin. (See ferry info). The boats take between 75 and 45 minutes. The shorter run is from St. Maarten.

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