Anguilla Airport

Anguilla Airport is a typical Caribbean facility—mostly open air, laid back, and small. Although it is an international airport, it is quite a bit smaller than other airports on nearby islands, with only a single runway capable of handling only mid-sized aircraft. Because of this, there are no direct flights from the mainland United States or Europe. The international flights that do land here come from San Juan, Puerto Rico (a United States Commonwealth), St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Antigua (one of the two islands that make up the independent nation of Antigua and Barbuda), and Saint Maarten (the portion of the island that is part of the Netherlands Antilles).

Officially, the facility is Anguilla Wallblake Airport, with AXA as its international IATA code. It is located less than a mile from the capital city (actually, no more than a town) of The Valley. It appears that Anguilla Wallblake Airport was named for an eighteenth-century sugar plantation owner Will Blake, and the name is simply an idiomatic pronunciation of his name that changed to Wallblake over the centuries. The facility has a small café, a small gift shop, and basic facilities including restrooms and a waiting area.

Once you land at Anguilla Airport your choices of transport to your final destination are fairly limited. There is no public transportation or buses, but there is a fairly reliable taxi service. If you are staying at one of the resorts or better hotels, they will arrange airport transfers for you. Otherwise, you must rely on car rentals or taxis for transportation. Most of the car rental outlets, including a couple international chains, will be located at AXA or quite nearby. You can also rent scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles. Just remember that they drive on the left side of the road here.

One of the interesting facts about the Anguilla Airport is that there are no refueling services, meaning flights must land with enough fuel to take off again and reach their next destination. This means the weight of a fully loaded aircraft is quite important, and baggage is routinely left behind, making strategic packing of carry-on luggage important. Forward thinking visitors arriving here for their vacations pack their carry-on with a change of clothes and a bathing suit, since it is quite possible the rest of their luggage won’t show up until the next day.

Anguilla Wallblake Airport is augmented by regularly scheduled ferries from St. Martin, the portion of the nearby island belonging to France (the other portion is Saint Maarten belonging to the Dutch). The ferry trip takes approximately twenty minutes. While convenient, if you are coming from the United States, this option can take a full day. First you land at Princess Julian International Airport on the Dutch side. Then you must find ground transportation across the border to the French side in order to board the ferry. There are also numerous private water taxi services, which can cost between $100 and $500, but are much quicker and eliminate many of the hassles.

Large ocean liners on Caribbean cruises from Miami also stop here, generally for only a single overnight. The international port is in the same bay that shelter Sandy Ground Beach. AXA Airport is about 2.5 miles from the international cruise port. There are also a few scenic and charter flight services that operate out of the airport.

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