Holiday trip to Sint Maarten
Princess Juliana International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM) is the main airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. The airport is located on the Dutch side of the island, in the country of Sint Maarten. In 2015, the airport handled 1,829,543 passengers and around 60,000 aircraft movements. The airport serves as a hub for Windward Islands Airways and is the major gateway for the smaller Leeward Islands, including Anguilla, Saba, St. Barthélemy and St. Eustatius. It is named after Queen Juliana, who landed here while still only heir presumptive in 1944, the year after the airport opened. The airport has very low-altitude flyover landing approaches, owing to one end of its runway being extremely close to the shore and Maho Beach.
There is also an airport on the French side of the island, in the French Collectivity of Saint Martin, called Aéroport de Grand Case or L'Espérance Airport. The airport has a single runway numbered 10/28, measuring 7,546 ft x 148 ft (2,300 m x 45 m). It was renumbered from 09/27 in late 2008. Pilots guided by GPS take a more efficient approach than those operating under VFR. Local airport rules prohibit aircraft from flying lower than 500 feet (150 m) Arriving aircraft approach the island on the last section of the final approach for Runway 10, following a 3° glide slope flying low over the famous Maho Beach. The proximity of Maho Beach to the runway has made the airport one of the world's favorite places among planespotters despite the dangers. In 2017 a New Zealand woman died from injuries sustained by jet blast from a departing aircraft. Tourists have been often criticised for dangerous behavior on the beach.