St. Maarten is privileged to have one of the largest and most modern airports in the Caribbean, possibly rivaled only by that in Puerto Rico.
Begun in 1942 as a military airstrip Princess Juliana Airport was converted to civilian use a year later and in 1964 a new terminal and control tower were added. The airport is named after Princess Juliana of the Netherlands who visited St. Maarten just after it was originally built in 1944.
In 2006 Princess Juliana International Airport was totally reconstructed to many times its original size, the terminal now being 4 stories tall with 290,000 sq.ft. of floor space and featuring many amenities which had not existed previously such as jetways, complete air conditioning, and a good assortment of restaurants. As a St. Maarten resident for many years who has occasion to meet arriving passengers, I can tell you how much the air conditioning is appreciated.
One of the interesting things is that the end of the airports runway 10 is located just above Maho Beach and the airplanes come in on a very low approach making it a haven for plane watchers and the opportunity for them to take spectacular photos. The large Sunset Beach Bar and restaurant at the end of the runway is the beneficiary of all the plane spotter activity and is always crowded with them, making it one of the busiest bar/restaurants on the island if not the most.
If air traffic continues to grow as is expected, yet another extension to the terminal is in the planning phase and the construction of a full parallel taxiway system and the addition of more jetways and services.