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Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Martin, Netherland Antilles

August 19th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Princess Juliana International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM) serves the island of Sint Maarten (also known as St Martin) in the Netherlands Antilles. The airport is famous for its short landing strip —only 2,130 metres/7,000 ft, which is barely enough for heavy jets. Because of this, the planes approach the island flying extremely low, right over the beach Maho Beach. Countless photos of large jets flying at 10--20 m/30-60 ft over relaxing tourists at the beach have been dismissed as photoshopped many times, but are nevertheless real. For this reason as well it has become a favourite for planespotters.

The airport was started as a military airstrip in 1942. It was converted to a civilian airport in 1943. It is the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean, after Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was named after Juliana of the Netherlands, the former Queen. The airport serves as a hub for Windward Islands Airways.

A new, more modern terminal is currently under construction to replace the small terminal currently handling the airport's arrivals & departures. This new terminal is expected to open in June 2006.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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