Saint Barthélemy


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Gustaf III Airport (IATA: SBH, ICAO: TFFJ), also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport or St. Jean Airport (French: Aérodrome de St Jean), is a public use airport located in the village of St. Jean on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy. Both the airport and the island’s main town of Gustavia are named for King Gustav III of Sweden, under whom Sweden obtained the island from France in 1785 (it was sold back to France in 1878).

In 1984, swedish Minister of Communications, Hans Gustafsson, inaugurated the terminal building of the Gustaf III Airport.

Local St. Barthians check the comings and goings of the island from 8:00 in the morning till darkness at 18:00, when the airport closes. St. Barthians are divided on the issue of lighting at the airport for emergency purposes. There is a risk then that the traffic to the island would increase.
The airport is served by small regional commercial aircraft and charters. Most visiting aircraft carry fewer than twenty passengers, such as the Twin Otter, a common sight around Saint Barth and throughout the northern West Indies. The short airstrip is at the base of a gentle slope ending directly on the beach. The arrival descent is extremely steep over the hilltop traffic circle and departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers (although small signs advise sunbathers not to lie directly at the end of the runway). The airport is located in St. Jean.

The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports, ranks Gustaf III airport, which is casually referred to as “St. Barth’s”, as the 3rd most dangerous airport in the world.

The official currency of Saint Barthélemy is the euro. INSEE estimated that the total GDP of Saint Barthélemy amounted to 179 million euros in 1999 (US$191 million at 1999 exchanges rates; US$255 million at Oct. 2007 exchange rates). In that same year the GDP per capita of St. Barts was 26,000 euros (US$27,700 at 1999 exchanges rates; US$37,000 at Oct. 2007 exchange rates), which was 10% higher than the average GDP per capita of metropolitan France in 1999. Tourism explains in a large measure the very high standard of living on the island. St. Barts is considered a playground of the rich and famous, especially as a winter haven, and is known for its beautiful pristine beaches (21 beaches in total), gourmet dining in chic bistros and high-end designers.

St. Barts has about 25 hotels, most of them with 15 rooms or fewer. The largest has 58 rooms. Hotels are classified in the traditional French manner 3 Star, 4 Star and 4 Star Luxe. Most of the rooms allocated to tourism on St Barts are found in private villas. There are approximately 400 privately owned villas available for rent on the island.