AirStMaarten - Monthly Newsletter - July 2009

The AirStMaarten Newsletter is professional with a personal touch, informative and to the point with news, opinions, background information, articles and promotions.

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In this July 2009 issue:
1. INTRO: What Makes St. Barths unique?
2. SPECIALS: Villa Case et Cuisine
3. ARTICLE: Why Fares To St. Barths Are On The Rise (Part II)
4. SPONSOR MESSAGE: KwikFix St. Barths
5. NEWS ITEM: Winair Operating With Only 5 Twin Otters
6. TRAVEL TIP: How To Avoid Missing Connections
7. AGENDA: Blues Festival in St. Barths in November
9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten

INTRO: What Makes St. Barths Unique?

Dear friends and clients,

The discussion what makes St. Barths unique is as long as the island's history and as long as the list of famous celebrities who have visited and lived on the island thoughout the years.

However, for everyone that visits St. Barths by air there is only one aspect that makes St. Barths truly unique and that is the landing. The folllowing photography (taken by Roy according to James of Premium IV) captures the essence of the uniqueness of St. Barths and its landings beautifully.

Landing in St. Barths over Arawak statue

"We can only hope St. Barths remain as unique as its plane landings."
- Mike Mully

Check out this month's issue of the AirStMaarten Newsletter while I help the contributing editor for next month's issue get over his writer's block. 

Happy Landings!

Terrance Rey

PS: Oh, by the way... last week I was elected as the new President of the Aviation Pioneers of the Caribbean. Read the news story online here:

2. SPECIALS: Villa Case et Cuisine

Caribbean Travel & Life Aug-Sep 2009 issueThe upcoming issue of Caribbean Travel & Life magazine has identified Dennis and Wendy's Villa Case et Cuisine as an island bargain. Shining the spotlight on this villa is truly warranted according to Greg of This is one island villa that has the feel of a personal residence, reflecting Wendy's refined taste as a decorator and featuring Dennis's island photos.

I have personally stayed at Villa Case et Cuisine and therefore I can confidently recommend you use the the following offer to book a stay at this lovely villa that over the years has been the location of many great cocktail parties (and I have the pictures to prove it :-).

Here is what Caribbean Travel & Life had to say about Villa Case et Cuisine:

Villa Case et Cuisine is an island bargain according to Caribbean Travel & Life

Specially for AirStMaarten clients we have the following deal:

One bedroom / bath:  7 days / 7 nights at $2,100 with car
Two bedrooms / baths:  7 days / 7 nights at $2,400 with car

Click here for more information about Villa Case et Cuisine and how to book your next St. Barths villa vacation. Don't forget to host a cocktail party.

3. ARTICLE: Why Fares To St. Barths Are On The Rise (Part II)

To understand why fares to St. Barths are on the rise one first has to understand how airline fares are constructed. That way you would better understand why fares from St. Maarten to St. Barths are so expensive.

Here is an article I wrote specifically to explain how airline fares are constructed. See last month's issue.

More on the breakdown of these taxes and fees in this month's issue.

First up, Base Fares are the airline's fares excluding the government taxes, airport fees and agency service fees. The revenues from the Base Fares are used to cover fuel, maintenance, personnel and overhead costs the airline companies incur.

If we were to analyse, for example, Winair's Base Fares, they would look something like this:

One-way Base Fare $114.00
Round-trip Base Fare $225.00
For a one-way ticket from St. Maarten to St. Barths, we have to add the following taxes and fees:

St. Maarten Airport Departure Tax (FH) - $30.00
St. Maarten Airport Improvement Fee (IW) - $5.00
St. Maarten Passenger Screening Fee (FG) - $9.35

For the return ticket out of St. Barths, we have to add the following taxes and fees:

French Civil Aviation Tax (FR) - $14.60
St. Barths Airport Departure Tax (GP) - $6.30
French Air Passenger Solidarity Tax (IZ) - $5.50

In conclusion the total ticket fares including taxes and fees would be:

One-way Ticket Price out of St. Maarten is $158.35
One-way Ticket Price out of St. Barths is $140.40
Round-trip Ticket Price is $295.75

Just for the record, if you are traveling on a private charter out of St. Maarten, the Airport Departure Tax is $35.00. If you are in transit - as the majority of you are - the Transit Tax is $15.00 per person. So if you are staying on St. Maarten and you want to fly over to St. Barths, then the cheapest alternative is to fly from Grand Case Airport on French St. Martin (SFG) to St. Barths.

As you can see from the above breakdowns the taxes and fees as a percentage of the total ticket price varies between 23% and 39%. This indicates that the both the airline fares and the taxes and fees have increased and diverged over the years from the average of 50% mentioned in last month's issue.

St. Barth Commuter, the traditionally most economical airline to fly with in respect to their fares averaging €55 to €65 per one-way over the years, has announced that their commercial fares and private charter fares will be raised as a direct result of the increased taxes and fees.

In a related news article in this issue about Winair now only operating five Twin Otters in their fleet (see the NEWS ITEM section) combined with the present schedule of St. Barth Commuter for the upcoming season to only operate one commercial flight daily between St. Maarten and St. Barths and to only operate the rest of their flights as private charters, lead us to conclude that for the upcoming 2009/2010 season the fares to St. Barths will only get higher.

This also leads me to issue the advice to book your flights and private charters as early as possible.

Nonetheless, with the agency service fees ranging from $10 to $50 per ticket, you can expect fares to St. Barths to range from $305.75 to $345.75 for a roundtrip ticket. Ofcourse, you have to always be on the lookout for special deals as it is within the airline's prerogative to lower the base fares to promote bookings. Visit to monitor prices daily.

In conclusion, it should now be clear to you why a 10 minute flight from St. Maarten to St. Barths costs just as much as a flight from JFK to St. Maarten with Jetblue or American Airlines. Ofcourse, economies of scale plays a major role in determining airline's base fares. There are simply more passengers flying from JFK to St. Maarten than from St. Maarten to St. Barths. Even on a daily basis.

Terrance Rey

4. SPONSOR MESSAGE: KwikFix Handyman Services

A KwikFix St. Barths francise available for an experience all-round handyman or contractor. Visit for more information.

5. NEWS ITEM: Winair Operating With Only Five Twin Otters

Airport -- Winair has phased out the 9-seater BN Islanders and is now only operating with 4 Twin Otters. A fifth Twin Otter is expected in August or September so that there will be a total of 5 Twin Otters operating during the high season this upcoming 2009/2010 winter.

The DHC Twin Otter is a 20-seater twin-engine aircraft that went into production and operation in 1964 by De Havilland Canada (hence de DHC in the DHC-6 300 Twin Otters series Winair has in its fleet). The Twin Otter is an aircraft that is designed for the most rugged of conditions. From hot desserts to extremely cold arctic temperatures to humid salty environs like the Caribbean. The DHC Twin Otter can also be configured with floats for water operations as well as with skies for snow and ice.

The Twin Otter is a Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft, perfect for those unique landings in St. Barths as it has the ability to make very steep approaches with low speeds and land on very short runways. See the picture above with one of Winair's Twin Otter heading for a landing in St. Barths.

6. TRAVEL TIP: How To Avoid Missing Connections

If you flying out of St. Barths and you have a connection to make, especially in the afternoon (for example on Jetblue, American, Air France, etc.), please remember that you need to be in St. Maarten at least 2 hours prior to your outbound connecting flight. Eventhough the SBH-SXM flight is only 10 minutes long, remember that you still have to clear Immigration in St. Maarten, and on a busy day like a Saturday or Sunday, plan to go to St. Maarten at least 4 hours before the connecting flight to beat the long lines and reduce the risk of missing the connection. Missing a flight has a become a serious problem due to not enough transit time alllowed for connections.

Your best bet for avoiding problems is engaging our VIP Transfer Services eventhough there is caveat emptor: things can still go wrong with a tight schedule. Simply because we do not control the airport operations nor the airlines. So to avoid missing your connections, leave St. Barths early with plenty of time to spare in St. Maarten. At least 2 to 4 hours.

7. AGENDA: Blues Festival in St. Barths in November

Apparently it will be the first St. Barths Blues Festival. So that is a must see event.

The St. Barths Blues Festival will take place in November 2009 - from the 5th to the 8th - with free concerts given by some well-known artists such as:

  • Corey Harris, hero of Martin Scorsese’s film “From Mali to Mississipi”, renderen blues with African inspirations.
  • James Cotton, a living legend of the Blues, from the famous New Orleans Hall of Fame.
  • Lonie Brooks, with a style sometimes described as “Voodoo Blues” which includes elements of Chicago Blues, Louisiana Blues, Swamp Pop, Rhythm & Blues.
  • Phil Wiggins, a true master of the acoustic blues harp!

The 60th Select Bar Birthday Bash will also take place in Gustavia from November 6th to 8th, 2009.

They say it will be unforgettable music moments to experience. So fly to St. Barths in November and enjoy the sea, sand, sun and music!!! :-)


Since clients often ask me to recommend restaurants or my favorite places to eat, I registered the domain names and with the intention to publish restaurant reviews and photo's whenever I visit St. Barths (for business or pleasure) and I dine at any of St. Barths' great restaurants.

Here is a photograph of a dish I took at one of St. Barths' famous restaurants.

Visit to find out how to get this dessert. 

Where was this photo taken? Email me to find out.
Visit to also find out how to get to St. Barths.

9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten

Booking Procedure & Reservation Information

Submit a reservation request online at Once we receive your request, we will send you a Reservation Offer for your consideration. Once you accept our proposal, we will require payment. You can use our credit card form to send us your credit card information. We accept all major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. You can also pay by bank transfer, check, cash or Paypal. Once payment is received, we will book the commercial flight or private charter and send you a Reservation Confirmation.

If you have requested additional services such as VIP Transfer Services, we will send you a Final Confirmation containing all details of your travel itinerary and services booked. And that's how you book with AirStMaarten.

Other Customer Service Resources:
Our Shared Charters concept explained in full detail
VIP Transfer Services through Princess Juliana Int'l Airport
Island Concierge Services on St. Maarten and St. Barths
Read what our satisfied clients are saying about our service
Ticket Insurance
We also accept payments via Paypal
St. Maarten Villa Rentals
St. Maarten Yachting and Sailing Charters
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