“Every year there is an increase in requests to park private jets at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport), and this year has seen even more than last year, unfortunately due to limited space, we can only accommodate so much and no more,” said Michel Hyman, Operations Manager of the airport.
Explaining the visible increase in the number of private jets at the airport, Hyman said, “This year, we’ve been able to be more creative, of course, without compromising safety and security, which are the main pillars of our operations.”
He noted that every year, “aircrafts keep growing bigger and bigger, not like 10 years ago.”
One of the “Big Birds” that annually make SXM Airport the temporary base at this time of the year is a Boeing 767 – 300 series, which belongs to Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire oil magnate and owner of English Premier League football club, Chelsea, current European champions.
“His is the biggest,” confirmed Hyman, pointing to the fact that the private aircraft is bigger than most legacy commercial airlines that service the island.
According to Hyman, those private jets that cannot find space to park at the airport do quick “turnarounds.” They drop off their VIP passengers and take off to return for them whenever they are ready.
One of the main reasons for the increasing number of private jets calling at the airport is the fact that this is also the start of the yachting season. Hyman explained that the rich and famous come in their private jets to board their yachts waiting for them at the Simpson Bay lagoon to cruise around the Caribbean.
As the General Aviation business continues to grow, SXM Airport, at present second in this sector behind The Bahamas in the Caribbean, is looking to increase its market share with future expansion of its current facilities.