St Barts Airport is easily one of the most treacherous and is known worldwide as one of most demanding landing strips in existence. The many different airlines to St Barts must actually employ pilots holding a special license to land at Gustaf III Airport because of the extremely narrow runway and the conditions under which pilots must land. With mountains flanking the airstrip, pilots must literally dive down between two prominent peaks before pulling up quickly to get into the precise position necessary to land the plane, which is rarely ever anything larger than a nineteen-seat passenger plane.
The St Barts island airport is named after Swedish King Gustaf III. He reigned from 1771 through 1792 and was responsible for obtaining St Barts from France in the year 1785. Gustaf was assassinated mainly for his tyrannical ways, according to the group of men who killed him. This heir apparent was especially pleased by all the finer things in life, which he hastily bought with public funds. The desire to own and enjoy the finer things really makes him a great candidate as the official name for St Barts Airport, where the rich and famous relish in luxurious backdrops of lavish villas and some of the best dining in the world.
St Barts Airport is relative to the size of the landing strip; small, which is no surprise for an eight-square-mile island. Though it is very nicely adorned inside, has a bar and some shops, it isn’t exactly a place for an extended layover which you would never experience in St Barts. If you’re going there, it is generally always the final destination. The St Barts island airport is located in St Jean Village, home to glamorous St Jean Beach, and is intended for public use. It is home to several care rental agencies and few amenities. The many different airlines to St Barts deploy their smallest aircraft and charter planes from the main nearby departure points of St Maarten, San Juan Puerto Rico, and Guadeloupe. St Thomas is another popular gateway to St Barts.
There are several options to choose from when exploring airlines to St Barts. It’s wise to note airlines to St Barts cannot arrive or depart after sunset, a rule that is purely based on safety. International flights direct to the airport are not available. This is largely due to locals and officials aiming to keep over-development at bay. The most common way to arrange flights is via inter-island flights from nearby islands. The shortest flight is from St Maarten, lasting less than fifteen minutes in total. St Maarten’s close proximity also makes it a popular destination for cruises and novice sailors. Reaching St Maarten is easy via several direct flights on major airlines. From there, a charter flight makes the final leg of the trip. Air Caraibes and Windward Island Airways are the two most popular inter-island airlines.
Once arrived at St Barts Airport, car rentals can be picked up or dropped off at your hotel or villa by a service. The port of Gustavia is an excellent place to explore or grab a bite before continuing onward. Shops and upscale boutiques are key features, as well as two main sandy beaches. If watching the planes land and take off at St Barts island airport is on your agenda, be sure not to get too close to the end of landing strip as planes tend to fly in extremely low.