St Barts' Gustaf III Airport (SBH) is one of the most unique airfields in the Caribbean.
It’s also known as St Barts Airport, Saint Barthélemy Airport, Remy de Haenens Airport and St. Jean Airport. It opened in 1984 and has one of the shortest runways in the world, at just over 2,100 feet. Because of this, only small prop planes are able to land at St Barts Airport, the runway is too short for even the smallest jet engined plane to land.
The airport, which ends at the edge of St Jean beach, is a major talking point among first-time travelers to the island. However, despite the "thrill" of the short landing, St Barts' Gustaf III Airport has an excellent safety record.
Official Name: Gustaf III Airport
Airport code (IATA code): SBH
Operating hours: daily between 7am to 15 minutes after sunset. (generally 6pm to 8pm depending on the time of year)
Airlines servicing Gustaf III Airport:
Most people arrive via WinAir if coming from Sint Maarten or via Tradewind if coming from San Juan.
Private charter flights to St Barts are also available from all neighboring islands via a PILATUS C-12 NG (single-engine, six-passenger plane), a Caravan plane, or on five-passenger helicopters.
If you have your own small plane and pilot, please note that all pilots flying into St Barts need a special, short takeoff and landing certification.
Ready to reserve your flights to St Barts? Contact WIMCO’s Air Department.
Most visitors fly to the island from St Maarten, but there are also non-stop flights to St Barts from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Antigua; and St Thomas, USVI. Approximately 140,000 passengers arrive by air in St Barts each year.
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the nearby island of St Maarten is the closest major airport to St Barts. It's approximately 16 miles away, as the crow flies. From there, it's just a 15-minute flight over to St Barts.
Travelers from North America can reach St Maarten via non-stop flights from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.. There are also seasonal flights from Boston and Newark.
Travelers from Europe can reach St Maarten via non-stop flights from Amsterdam and Paris.
The airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico is second most popular airport to fly into for connecting flights to St Barts.
For most residents of the US, there are more airlines and flights servicing San Juan, which means more options on more days. Including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Hartford, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Newark, New York (JFK), Boston, Chicago (ORD), Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Raleigh-Durham, and Pittsburgh.
Europe, Latin America and Canada
There are weekly direct flights from Montreal, Toronto, Frankfurt, Madrid, Bogotá, Panamá City, and San José.
European visitors can also fly non-stop from Paris to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe and connect to St Barts.
Tradewind Aviation offers daily flights from San Juan to St Barts on its fleet of Pilatus-12 prop planes. Flying to San Juan airport and connecting to St Barts is also the best option for most residents of countries in South America.
Visitors to St Barts from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Mexico and European Union countries and most other developed countries are required to have a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity) to enter the country for 90 days or less as well as proof of onward transportation.
Citizens of a few countries are required to get a visa from a French embassy or consulate to visit the French Overseas Territories stamped in their passport prior to arrival on the island. Check here if you are not sure. You can also check with your villa rental agency or hotel front desk to see what is required for your entry.
Please note: If you are traveling with a nanny, babysitter, personal assistant or companion who are citizens of another country, make sure that they have the necessary documentation before departing. St Barts immigration is very strict and will turn away anyone without the necessary passport and visa.
St Barts' Gustaf III Airport has a rather undeserved reputation for being a dangerous place to land. This is probably because of the airport's short runway, which is surrounded on three sides by mountains, and which ends on the beach.
Flying over the hill tops then descending rapidly onto the runway can be described as a "thrill ride". However, since the airport opened in 1984, there have only been six incidents and only one accident with fatality in 2001. While even one accident is too many, the airport's safety record is better than most other Caribbean or US airports.
Pilots who want to land at St Barts Airport are required to obtain a special certification for short take-off and landing flights. They need to have this certification before they can arrive, so you can be assured that your pilot knows how to handle landing and taking off from this unusual airport.
Because of St Barts Airport's small size, you don't need to arrive quite as early as you do for larger, busier airports. However, you still need to have your luggage checked and pass through security, so we recommend that you get there at least one hour prior to your departure.
St Barts may be a small airport, but it has plenty of services and facilities to help make your journey more enjoyable.
The ground floor level contains the departure and arrival areas, the rental car booths, and the check-in kiosks. The second floor includes a small shopping mall as well as Chez Joe, a restaurant with windows overlooking the runway.
For ground transportation, we recommend that all visitors to St Barts reserve a rental car to get to your villa or hotel and explore the island. Your WIMCO concierge will bring you to the rental car booths, then lead you up to your villa or hotel.
If you don’t want to drive, WIMCO can arrange for a car and driver to meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel or villa.
Most of the vehicles rented on St Barts are small to accommodate the narrow roads on the island. You can also rent the iconic St Barts’ Mini Moke, a sort of miniature Jeep. (Note: These vehicles have a manual transmission.) There are six rental car operators at St Barts Airport.
Since the airport is centrally located on the island, getting to your villa or hotel is relatively easy and takes less than 20 minutes in most cases.
You don't need to worry about directions or finding ground transportation when you arrive. A member of WIMCO's concierge team will meet you as soon as you clear customs and immigration.
WIMCO's office on St Barts is located right across the street from Gustav III Airport, so it's easy to reach us when you arrive or whenever you need us. We know St Barts intimately and can handle those extra details that make a vacation so special.
Whether that's hiring a private chef to cook a romantic dinner for two or getting a caterer to handle that surprise birthday party for your mother, we can make it happen.
We're also well-versed in all things transportation-related on the island. We can make air reservations on both the international flights and the flights into St Barts airport. If you'd rather travel by private aircraft, we can help you charter a plane or help your pilot with all the information they need to know.
At WIMCO Villas, making sure that your vacation is as enjoyable as possible is our primary focus. To that end, a member of our concierge team meets each arriving client at the airport when they clear customs and immigration.
We're not just your vacation specialist; we're your neighbors while you're on the island. We want to share our home and what makes it so special with you and your family. Feel free to send us a message or call us at +1-401-684-0557 when you are ready to plan that unforgettable vacation.
Some of the questions we hear most often about St Barts airport include...
Gustaf III Airport in St Barts is located in the Village of St. Jean, on the north-central part of the island. The arrivals area is within walking distance of St Jean beach, and is only a 6-minute drive from the capital city of Gustavia.
The official IATA code for Gustaf III Airport in St Barts is SBH. ICAO code is TFFJ
Gustaf III Airport in St Barts opens every day at 7:00 a.m. and closes 15 minutes after sunset. There are no nighttime departures or arrivals because the airport runway has no lights, and the surrounding hills would make instrument-only landings difficult.
Gustaf III Airport in St Barts doesn't publish its telephone number. However, you can reach the airlines that serve St Barts Airport by calling the numbers listed in an earlier section of this article.
The single runway at St Barts Airport is 2,119 feet (646 meters) in length.
No, they can not. The short runway at St Barts Airport can only accommodate smaller prop planes, such as the 19-seat short takeoff and landing (STOL) Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter. Larger commercial jets and private jets can land at nearby Princess Juliana Airport on St Maarten and passengers can take a connecting flight on a smaller plane or a helicopter or take a ferry over to St Barts.