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Saba's Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport  
  Saba's AirportJuancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Named after the Aruban Minister Juancho Irausquin, yes that's an "I" not a "Y" (a typo from many years back that is now on every map of Saba and every reference and piece of documentation for the airport)) was inaugurated on the 18th of September 1963.

First Landing on SabaAt the time of its inception, many thought a landing strip on the Unspoiled Queen was a fanciful idea, but due to the enthusiasm of Captain Remy F. de Haenen (a swashbuckling pilot from our neighboring island of St. Barths) and the persistence of the Saba people, the project and a monumental change in the quality of life for the islanders was achieved.

Once again the people of Saba knuckled down, this time to hand clear the area at Flat Point making it possible for de Haenen to attempt a landing. Grading the strip from one of the few level grounds on the island was a task only surpassed by the building of "The Road"... So on the 9th of February 1959, with most of the island present to greet him... amid a roar of engine and a cloud of dust Remy arrived. His bravery, determination and insight will forever be remembered.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport - Saba - Dutch CaribbeanSince then Sabans have had a great affection for the many pilots of Winair (the airline responsible for establishing a constant service to and from the island). Starting in 1963 with a couple of flights a week, Saba now has four flights a day 365 days a year. In recent years Windward Express Airways offer charter flights from and to our neighboring islands as well.

What a flight!

Only twelve minutes but what a twelve minutes they are! When boarding your Twin Otter or BN2 Islander at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, you'll certainly notice the difference in scale to many of the commercial airlines parked and landing around you. Only space for 16 passengers in a Twin Otter (7 in an islander) so you'll get a real feeling that you and your fellow travelers are part of a team heading out on an expedition...

On take off you'll soar gracefully upward banking hard right to swing around in the direction of Saba... Out over the turquoise sea, that sharp silhouette in the distance with clouds atop is your destination!

What a landing!

The runway at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is only 400m in length and reputed to be the shortest commercial air strip in the world! Depending on wind conditions it is possible to land on both ends of the runway. On a wind still day (which is less likely) you can expect a 30 landing. You'll get the real sense of landing on an aircraft carrier as you'll see the waters of the Cove Bay to the left and the Caribbean sea to the right of the runway... Under normal conditions you'll be landing 120, now this is something else! The approach is practically at a cliff, the rugged terrain of Saba blocks out the entire sky as you peer over the shoulders of your pilots. Then it's a sharp bank left and a gentle touchdown. Landing on Saba is an art form and the Pilots of Winair & Windward Express are maestros, so enjoy it, remembering it will not be a problem!

Winair & Windward Express Airways
Saba Take-off shot from the tide poolsWhat a lift-off!

You'll know you're in for the ride of your life as your plane swings 180 degrees at the end of the runway to line up for lift-off. First the deep blue of the Caribbean sea, then jagged cliffs and finally the end of the runway (that seems all too close!) will be imprinted on your mind... A roar of engines and you're off... But your worries are unfounded as you soar steeply into the sky leaving Saba behind and taking memories with you that will be shared for years to come.
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