St Maarten Airport - AKA Princess International - has a world-famous approach

Hurricane Irma Wrecks World-Famous Airport

posted by Paul Fiddian | 07.09.2017

Princess Juliana Closed After Infrastructure Damaged

The vicious Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc upon Princess Juliana International - one of the world's most recognisable airports.

Hurricane Irma has seriously damaged one of the world’s best-known airports: Princess Juliana, located on St Maarten.

Its name might not be that familiar but the images and video footage captured at its approach area almost certainly will be.

Aircraft landing at Princess Juliana International Airport (‘SXM’) do so right over the adjoining Maho Beach. This arrangement has made it a very popular spot for holidaymakers and aviation enthusiasts alike but the spectacular sights this airport’s delivered might now have become consigned to history.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma Airport Damage

The level of Hurricane Irma airport damage wreaked has been nothing less than devastating, according to local reports.

185 miles per hour winds tore through the site, sending infrastructure crashing down and flinging rocks into aircraft. Water swept into Princess Juliana’s terminal, flooding it, while Maho Beach sand was blasted onto the runway and other debris blew onto the aircraft parking areas.

All this led to the airport being closed down, for safety purposes, on 5 September.

SXM Closure

The St Maarten Airport closure remained enforced two days later, when this New Item was being produced.

“We regret any inconvenience this will cause, but must stress that the safety and security of all is priority #1 at SXM”, said the airport’s Chief Operations Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Michael Hyman. “We will continue to closely monitor the developments of Hurricane Irma, as it passes over our area, and keep all our personnel, users and stakeholders informed of any further developments as these occur, via the various media outlets.”

Passengers due to fly from Princess Juliana International Airport are advised to contact their airline for the latest update.

Princess Juliana International

Princess Juliana International Airport has been active since WW2. A mid-1960s modernisation programme updated its control tower and other infrastructure. A more recent multi-phased infrastructure renewable project then began in the 1990s.

Occupying 30,500 square metres of land, the airport featured 46 check-in desks, 13 boarding gates and 10 transit desks prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival. It is not yet known exactly how much of that now remains intact.

The exceptional powerfully Hurricane Irma is one of the most ferocious tropical cyclones of recent times. Having already passed through Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St Barthelemy and St Martin, it’s now heading up towards the United States and currently threatening its Southeastern coast.

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