005 – St. Maarten Airliners, February 2017

I spent five glorious days at what is arguably one of the best airports in the world for aircraft photography, Sint Maarten (SXM). I was there in February 2018, just seven months before Hurricane Irma devastated the island.  My base was the Alegria Hotel, just south of the famous Sunset Bar & Grill. At that point, I had a condition that required that I stay away from the sand, so I could not wander down to the beach and get the usual photos. Instead, I parked myself on the top floor of the Alegria which, as it turned out, offered a unique view of the runway. This included a beautiful view of aircraft lined up for takeoff.

SXM may not have the greatest variety of airlines but what does show up can be pretty interesting to someone used to traffic at US airports. The inter-island traffic, in particular is made up primarily of STOL aircraft in airline color schemes not seen anywhere else. Since pilots of these commuter airplanes were undoubtedly quite familiar with VFR approaches to SXM, some if these approaches looked mighty casual. The twin Otter was the most popular of these aircraft.

PJ-WIP MSN: 802 WinAir De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter
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PJ-WII MSN: 682 WinAir De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter
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PJ-WIT MSN: 588 WinAir De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter
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There were also a good number of Islanders in and out of SXM.

PJ-WEA MSN: 659  Windward Expess Airways Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander
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PJ-WED MSN: 2153 Windward Express Pilatus Britten-Norman BN-2B-26 Islander
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VP-AAF MSN: 2024 Trans Airways Pilatus Britten-Norman BN-2B-21 Islander
__________

VP-AAC MSN: 919 Anguilla Air Services Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander.
__________
Cessna Caravans are also widely used by both passenger and cargo carriers.
N920HL_06FEB17SXM
N920HL MSN: 208B2232 DHL (Africair) Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
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F-OSBM_04FEB17SXM (40)
F-OSBM MSN: 208B2391 St. Barth Commuter Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
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N855FE_03FEB17SXM
N855FE MSN: 208B0203 FedEx Feeder (Mountain Air Cargo) Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster
__________
Other Interisland transports range small and large.
VP-AAK_04FEB17SXM
VP-AAK Caribe Air Charters Cessna 402B
__________
N343CJ_04FEB17SXM (1)
N343CJ MSN: 340B-343 Seaborne Airlines Saab 340B
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V2-LIK_03FEB17SXM
V2-LIK MSN: 1012 LIAT ATR-42-600
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V2-LIB_04FEB17SXM (23)
V2-LIB MSN: 1103 LIAT ATR-72-600
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F-OIXO_03FEB17SXM
F-OIXO MSN: 1010 Air Antilles Express ATR-42-600
__________
Even common aircraft look special at SXM, and the special aircraft look even better!
C-GTQI_04FEB17SXM
C-GTQI MSN: 29080 Air Transat Boeing 737-73S
__________
HI914_03FEB17SXM
HI914 MSN: 49476 Pan Am World Airways – PAWA Dominicana McDonnell Douglas MD-82
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N13720_05FEB17SXM
N13720 MSN: 28939 United Airlines  (Star Alliance) Boeing 737-724
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N811TJ_03FEB17SXM
REG: N811TJ MSN: 23538 Swiftair Cargo Boeing 737-306(SF)

__________

N700UW_05FEB17SXM (14)
N700UW MSN: 885 American Airlines Airbus A319-112

__________

N663NK_4FEB17SXM
N663NK MSN: 6994 Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231
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N395AJ_03FEB17SXM
N395AJ MSN: 21100 Amerijet International Boeing 727-233/Adv(F)
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HP-1849CMP_05FEB17SXM
HP-1849CMP MSN: 41449 Copa Airlines Boeing 737-8V3
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HP-1559CMP_06FEB17SXM
HP-1559CMP MSN: 19000053 Copa Airlines Embraer 190AR
__________
HI968_06FEB17SXM

HI968 MSN 561 Dominican Wings  A320‑233

__________

There are not many intercontinental wide-body airliners at SXM, but there are a couple of nice ones there.

F-GNII_4FEB17SXM

F-GNII MSN: 399 Air France Airbus A340-313
__________

F-OFDF_4FEB17SXM (6)

F-OFDF MSN: 253 Air Caraibes Airbus A330-223
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PH-AOD_03FEB17SXMPH-AOD MSN: 738 KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines Airbus A330-203

 

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