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Thread: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

  1. #1
    waynek is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2004 Toronto, Ont Posts: 480

    I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    I hesitate to post this since there is a lot of suffering in SBH and SXM with all of the damage that they have suffered and that is more important than how many of us get down to SBH for our annual fix. But it looks like SXM has been hit really bad - worse than SBH. And SXM has more of a mass-market tourism offering that I would guess will take longer to recover and rebuild than the more "boutique" style of tourism in SBH. And I bet that many of those that go to SXM may have less of an attachment to SXM than many of us have to SBH and they are willing to go to another Caribbean destination if SXM is not recovering quickly.

    That makes me worry that the tourist traffic to SXM will not recover for years. If so that may mean that the number of flights going into SXM could be drastically reduced.

    That may be less of an issue for those that can go through San Juan, but from Toronto that isn't a very attractive option. When I first starting going to SBH in 2004 I believe that the YYZ-SXM route only had charter flights on Saturdays. Then Air Canada added flights and Westjet added flights. In recent years Westjet has flown the YYZ-SXM route on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays which is wonderful as you can choose to stay for 9, 10 or 11 days if you wish - and we have done this quite often in recent years.

    Of course the other option is to have another gateway to SBH rather than SXM. Where could that be? St Kitts? Antigua?

  2. #2
    PIRATE40 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2005 Sarasota, Florida Posts: 1,805

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by waynek View Post
    I hesitate to post this since there is a lot of suffering in SBH and SXM with all of the damage that they have suffered and that is more important than how many of us get down to SBH for our annual fix. But it looks like SXM has been hit really bad - worse than SBH. And SXM has more of a mass-market tourism offering that I would guess will take longer to recover and rebuild than the more "boutique" style of tourism in SBH. And I bet that many of those that go to SXM may have less of an attachment to SXM than many of us have to SBH and they are willing to go to another Caribbean destination if SXM is not recovering quickly.

    That makes me worry that the tourist traffic to SXM will not recover for years. If so that may mean that the number of flights going into SXM could be drastically reduced.

    That may be less of an issue for those that can go through San Juan, but from Toronto that isn't a very attractive option. When I first starting going to SBH in 2004 I believe that the YYZ-SXM route only had charter flights on Saturdays. Then Air Canada added flights and Westjet added flights. In recent years Westjet has flown the YYZ-SXM route on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays which is wonderful as you can choose to stay for 9, 10 or 11 days if you wish - and we have done this quite often in recent years.

    Of course the other option is to have another gateway to SBH rather than SXM. Where could that be? St Kitts? Antigua?
    I do not think it will take "years" for SXM to get up and running...a month or two , but not years....
    "Yes I am a Pirate"

  3. #3
    waynek is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2004 Toronto, Ont Posts: 480

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    I hope you're right but some of the hotels in SXM seemed very badly damaged.

  4. #4
    PIRATE40 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2005 Sarasota, Florida Posts: 1,805

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by waynek View Post
    I hope you're right but some of the hotels in SXM seemed very badly damaged.
    Airport is their priority and lifeline.....
    "Yes I am a Pirate"

  5. #5

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Pirate, SXM will reopen soon for sure but Waynek is talking of tourist traffic and tourism in general. I would agree with him that it could take months or years for some hotels to reopen, meaning less tourists and number of flights to SXM considerably reduced. Also crews like air france for example stay 1 night at hotel before going back. Without hotels, how will AF operate?

  6. #6
    Maya is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2016 Posts: 75

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    In the week before the Irma, AF stopped a couple of times in Antigua for refuelling, which I thought was strange, but they could off load the crew in Antigua or just take them back to CDG directly.

  7. #7

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    When the wind is not strong enough in SXM , max take off weight has to be reduced, hence the pit stop to refuel .
    Yes, I guess AF will combine Guadeloupe and SXM, with crew resting in PTP. It will also solve the issue of much lower demand for SXM. By the way it could stay like that for ever because the airbus a340 is the only one able to fly non stop to Europe and it is due to be phased out soon

  8. #8
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    There are several options to go to SBH,luckily.
    A very popular one is through SJU and connect with tradewinds.Winair has flights on the destination too.And they will be looking for clients and will surely increase flights
    Antigua is intact and should see more tourists this winter (and more flights)...Commuter and tradewinds also fly there.
    Pointe a Pitre is another hub,for european tourists.And it's intact.
    Air Caraibes will need passengers.Should keep prices down for tickets,helping tourism to recover at the beginning.
    A major reshuffling is on the way...too soon to say what will happen

  9. #9
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 11,317

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Where there is a will and money to be made, a way will be found. I don't know enough about the range of the Pilatus but maybe Tradewinds could fly one stop from various cities in the states to SBH? Realize capacity is tiny but it is something.

  10. #10
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,827

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    I think planes will be able to land at SXM sooner than expected. Anyway, if SXM has problems, there will still be the MIA >SJU> SBH option :)

  11. #11
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Posts: 21,605

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Routing through Guadeloupe (Pointe à Pitre) and Antigua are options.

  12. #12
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    Where there is a will and money to be made, a way will be found. I don't know enough about the range of the Pilatus but maybe Tradewinds could fly one stop from various cities in the states to SBH? Realize capacity is tiny but it is something.
    Out of range for these planes and not viable financially.
    But Puerto Rico,Antigua,Pointe a Pitre airports are all fully operational.
    SXM airport will be back soon.Planes are landing already:Runway didn't disappear.All it takes is money..and hopefully,french and dutch governments will step up their game soon.
    Airports and harbors are the priorities as they allow supply chain,crucial for all these islands,as we all know.
    In SBH,both the harbor and airport are operational.
    Tourists will still go on winter vacations in the area.Flights will land somewhere.It's up to winair,commuter and tradewinds to find a way of operating from those airports with more flights

  13. #13
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 841

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Did Winair and Commuter's fleets of planes survive the storm?

  14. #14
    waynek is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2004 Toronto, Ont Posts: 480

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
    Did Winair and Commuter's fleets of planes survive the storm?
    And where were they during the storm?

    I am not talking about the airport - yes, that will be up and running in a few months. What I meant that could be done for years is the resort hotels, etc that really fill up all of the flights into SXM.

  15. #15
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,207

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    SBC took a big hit- correction- Winair


    Andy

  16. #16
    tim is offline
    Moderator Joined: Jun 2003 Vélo, Virginia Posts: 16,797

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    SBC took a big hit
    I saw in the SXM news article you posted that Winair took a significant hit.
    The best moderation is the least moderation.

  17. #17
    BBT is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2008 Posts: 11,046

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    SBC took a big hit
    Andy I missed that news. Surprising they didn't fly them south to Grenada or Trinidad. That's too bad.
    "St. Bart's is Crack for Vacations." Credit given to EDW

  18. #18
    waynek is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2004 Toronto, Ont Posts: 480

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    So getting into SBH from neigbouring islands also may be an issue as we have a damaged ferry (pre-Irma) and now issues with the two main airlines serving SBH.

    Speaking of the flights from Tradewinds - it sounds like there was some feuding between Bruno (President of SBH and owner of SBC) and Tradewinds in the past few years. Was that ever resolved?

  19. #19
    Maya is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2016 Posts: 75

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    St Barths Commuter were unhappy with Tradewind flying to locations from St. Barths that a US airline does not have the rights to do.eg Antigua. That's what I understood..but since TW are still flying and provide excellent service, I guess the problems were resolved.

  20. #20
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,207

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    I saw in the SXM news article you posted that Winair took a significant hit.
    My mistake- it's Winair


    Andy

  21. #21
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,207

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by BBT View Post
    Andy I missed that news. Surprising they didn't fly them south to Grenada or Trinidad. That's too bad.
    It was Winair not SBC. My error.


    Andy

  22. #22
    Koops is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2016 Chicago/DeKalb Illinois Posts: 45

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by rouelan View Post
    Pirate, SXM will reopen soon for sure but Waynek is talking of tourist traffic and tourism in general. I would agree with him that it could take months or years for some hotels to reopen, meaning less tourists and number of flights to SXM considerably reduced. Also crews like air france for example stay 1 night at hotel before going back. Without hotels, how will AF operate?
    Hardly anyone will be traveling to St.Maarten anytime soon for enjoyment. No hotels for months. Got info thru a timeshare owner that Flamingo Beach Resort is basically closed till end of April & this place was in much better shape then most. St Barths fared so much better & no "looter crowd". Seeing pics of Tom Beach was tough but it's not gone! Hoping to revisit late 2018, early 2019.

  23. #23
    Aipotu is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2008 Connecticut Posts: 363

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Quote Originally Posted by rouelan View Post
    Pirate, SXM will reopen soon for sure but Waynek is talking of tourist traffic and tourism in general. I would agree with him that it could take months or years for some hotels to reopen, meaning less tourists and number of flights to SXM considerably reduced. Also crews like air france for example stay 1 night at hotel before going back. Without hotels, how will AF operate?
    This is my interpretation of things as well. For example, our next flight to SBH through SXM is a Friday morning Delta flight from JFK. Will there be enough passengers to warrant sending jets on weekdays? United had already cut back on that route a year or two ago.

  24. #24
    Maya is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2016 Posts: 75

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Will Juliana be functioning by Friday? Who knows, the runway currently is taking emergency flights only so the runway is useable, but the airport building is
    badly damaged.

  25. #25

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Tradewind is a class act airline and from what I understand are helping stranded people off the island at no charge...
    at this point we should focus our worries about the recovery the island....and not worry about how and when we will travel there again
    Steve and Aimee

  26. #26

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    Things may have changed, but Terre Basse on the French side and Marigot were functional for rentals by thanksgiving after Luis! Infrastructure on the Dutch Side took over a year to be passable. Orient and grande Case took 3-5 years to be back to," normal," as tourist attractions and were still not thriving for 10 years. Garbage pile near the French airport were still present 3 years after the storm. Most was home debris? Just a tribute to French fortitude! Hope things are different this time! Roulez Le bon temps!

  27. #27
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,521

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    I like your message Shihadehs. Let the St Barths folks get back on their feet and let's keep cheering them on and offering our support as they work hard to recover.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  28. #28
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,807

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    I just read an update on Anguilla site that SXM Airport will be open in 7 to 10 days
    The last of the famous international playboys

  29. #29
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,807

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    The last of the famous international playboys

  30. #30
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,207

    Re: I worry about how to get to SBH in the next few years

    THE HAGUE--Two bodies have washed ashore in Pointe Pirouette, St. Maarten, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed on Sunday.
    The nationality and identity of the victims is unknown as yet, Rutte stated during a press conference. This brings the total of fatalities on the Dutch side to four. One of these persons died of natural causes.
    Rutte also announced that an expert team is leaving for St. Maarten shortly to make an inventory of the assistance that is needed to rebuild St. Maarten’s most essential infrastructure after the initial emergency aid. After this inventory, a recovery plan will be drafted for the long term. “We now have to consider the next step to further help St. Maarten.”
    The project leader of this team is Hans Leijtens, who earlier had been appointed quarter master of the St. Maarten Integrity Chamber. Leijtens is a former Royal Marechaussee Commander with broad experience. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK is in charge of this team.
    The Prime Minister explained that more patients were being evacuated today, Sunday, as well as severely affected personnel and family members of Dutch Defence, the local police force and emergency workers, and stranded tourists.
    The next priority group to leave the island in the coming days are persons who temporarily work or study in St. Maarten, said Rutte. The Marechaussee have set up an evacuation centre where people who want/need to depart can register. The Marechaussee will prioritise the persons’ order of departure, added Minister Hennis-Plasschaert. People are being evacuated to Curaçao with the C-130 aircraft of Dutch Defence and the Dash aircraft of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.
    The safety situation on the island is stable, but fragile, said Rutte. He said that “luckily” Hurricane José passed at a safe distance, even though it did temporarily hinder the emergency assistance. Efforts have now resumed, including the distribution of food supplies and water. The situation on St. Eustatius and Saba has stabilised somewhat, though there are concerns about the dwindling food supplies and water.
    Meanwhile, the building of the capacity of the Dutch Defence contingent continues, announced Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. She stated that on Sunday there were a total of 392 militaries on St. Maarten, and that on Monday another 44 would be added. On Monday, a large C-17 aircraft with 120 marines will leave for Curaçao from where they will be transported to St. Maarten. By Tuesday, there should be about 550 militaries on the island, she said.
    The BZK Ministry has decided to dispatch the entire Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to St. Maarten. A reconnaissance team already left on Saturday and is awaiting transport from Curaçao. The entire team of 59 persons with their complete equipment will depart from Eindhoven Airport on Monday morning.
    The USAR team will contribute to the coordination of the emergency relief assistance, provide humanitarian emergency help and support the civil emergency services on the island. The team includes search and rescue experts, nurses and doctors, engineers and supporting personnel. The team has proven to be a great asset after earthquakes in Morocco, Pakistan, Haiti and Nepal.
    Minister Hennis-Plasschaert announced on Sunday that the Dutch Navy will carry out a thorough inspection of the harbour, also on the request of French authorities. The intention is that French frigates will be able to moor at the Dutch side harbour to unload relief supplies for the French side. French authorities have also asked for assistance in order to use the runway on the Dutch side.
    Rutte said that he had been in regular telephone contact with French President Emmanuel Macron, up to Saturday, to discuss the cooperation which Rutte said has been going “very well.” “We assist where we can. The harbour and airport inspections are a good example of that. It is now one island.” Hennis-Plasschaert said that a French liaison officer worked at the National Crisis Centre in The Hague to help coordinate the cooperation.
    Hennis-Plasschaert said that on Sunday there were four flights with the C-130 and the Dash aircraft. Asked about the possibility of commercial airlines landing on St. Maarten, the Minister said that the focus was now on emergency relief, which includes the restoring of essential infrastructure such as the airport and harbour.
    The Minister explained that commercial airlines, unlike military aircraft, required handling facilities which were not available now. She said that as soon as the airport was ready to receive commercial airlines, flights would resume. “We are restoring step by step. First emergency relief. Then we will work on getting things moving on the island again,” added Rutte.
    Rutte specifically thanked the militaries who worked tirelessly in St. Maarten and also everyone else working for St. Maarten in Curaçao and Aruba. “The Kingdom is cooperating intensively. That is great to see everyone’s involvement and commitment. This is a matter of the Kingdom, assisting each other when in need. It fits the character of the Kingdom,” he said.
    The Netherlands Red Cross announced on Sunday morning that donations to giro 5152 had already yielded more than 1.5 million euro, and this amount was expected to surpass 2 million shortly. The public broadcasting company NPO and the Red Cross are preparing a national TV campaign to collect donations.
    The Red Cross stated that it was “moved” by the solidarity of the Dutch people, and called on the community to keep donating, because a lot more money was needed to assist the victims on St. Maarten.
    Relief assistance to the island will be “up-scaled” with the additional funds that it receives, stated the Red Cross in a press release. More clean drinking water, food, tents, jerry cans, generators and tarpaulins will be sent.
    The organisation called the situation “extremely worrisome” and said it was a “race against the clock” to get the supplies to the island. On Sunday, a new load of relief supplies was transported from Curaçao to St. Maarten with military aircraft of Dutch Defence.
    Additional Red Cross volunteers are travelling from Curaçao to St. Maarten. They will coordinate distribution of relief goods, make an inventory of further assistance that is needed and they are giving first aid to victims.


    Andy

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