The beginning of Princess Juliana International Airport was in 1942 as a military airstrip which in the longer run got opened for public use in 1943. It is also known as Sint Maarten airport which is located on the Dutch part of the Saint Martin Island. Its position is 15km on the northwest of Philipsburg which is the Dutch capital of the island. The French part of the island has another airport of its own.
Princess Juliana International Airport got its name from that of the crown princess Juliana of Netherlands who came to the airport in 1944. The stand out point of the Princess Juliana International Airport is that it has a runway which deals the low altitude flight landings because of it being close to the shore and Maho beach. The landing on this runway is known to be very difficult and requires instruments checks alongside situational awareness, experience, and presence of mind.
So far Princess Juliana International Airport is known to be the 2nd busiest airport of the Caribbean which, till 2007, had handled 1,647,824 passengers and the operation of 103,650 aircrafts. Princess Juliana International Airport has been through constant endeavours of renovation wherein the first took place in 1964 and the last in 2001. Within these times the modernization features which have been added were done with an objective to handle the growing number of passengers and flight operations. These renovations included the widening of runways, increasing the capacity of the taxi parking, adding a new apron, and developing the old terminal.
Princess Juliana International Airport is known to be the focal point of operation for the Windward Islands Airways. Flights taking off from here mainly head towards the Leewards Islands like, Anguilla, Saba, and so on. The main apron of the airport is of 72,500 sq metres and the one on the Eastern side is of 5,000 sq metres. The multi-storeyed terminal is centrally air-conditioned with 42 check-in desks, eight transit decks, and eleven boarding gates. As the number of foreign tourists is high in the area so the number of immigration booths is ten. To make the journey process as much comfortable as possible there are also 40 shops which serve beverage and food.
As in the current times there seems to be an increase in the practise of owning and flying private planes so, Princess Juliana International Airport also provides spaces for lounges and offices for private jet owners and also a fixed base operator for them. The amount of airspace which is there under Princess Juliana International Airport is 4,000sq NM of airspace around the airport. So far the airport has had only two major accidents in the years 1970 and 72, respectively. As per the History Channel’s program on the Most Extreme Airports, Princess Juliana International Airport holds the 4th place.