End of World’s Coolest Landing? KLM Will Stop Flying the 747 to St Maarten

For a while, KLM has been flying the 747 to St Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport (SXM). The airport’s runway is known for its proximity to the beach, and is one of the most famous spot for plane watching. If you are on the beach, planes will literally fly right over your head before landing. It’s a sight to behold, and a double decker Boeing 747 with four engines just make it that much cooler.

Some have called this the “scariest landing,” and I think that might apply to both the pilots and the people on the beach!

KLM 747 landing in St. Maarten. Photo by Aurimas/Flickr, used with permission.

KLM 747 landing in St. Maarten. Photo by Aurimas/Flickr, used with permission.

But one of the world’s coolest landing might be getting (slightly) less cool, since KLM will no longer be flying the Boeing 747 to St Maarten airport. Starting October 30, the flight will be operated by an Airbus 330 instead. This means October 28 is the last day a KLM 747 will make its dramatic landing. You can follow the flight, KL 785, which is scheduled to arrive at St Maarten at 10:55 am (also 10:55 ET). You can watch planes arrive live via the Maho Beach cam.

KLM 747 landing in St Maarten Maho Beach. Photo by alljengi/Flickr, used with permission.

KLM 747 landing in St Maarten Maho Beach. Photo by alljengi/Flickr, used with permission.

Air France will still be flying the A340 (with four engines) on flight AF 498 to the airport, with a scheduled arrival time of 2 pm. There have also been chartered flights operated by the Boeing 747 flying to or from at the airport, so this isn’t a hard goodbye. Frankly, I think any landing that close to the beach will be absolutely dramatic and breathtaking to see. However, this will mark the end of a commercial, regularly scheduled 747 appearance at the airport!

Have you seen planes land at Maho Beach in St Maarten? What was your experience?

(HT CoughingLamb on Reddit)

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  1. You camera on normal focus can read the part numbers on the bottom of the plane as it fly’s over you. Quite a rush!

  2. I didn’t know that beach was known for those landings. So as I enjoyed the beach, it was totally startling to see the plane approach so close. It was very cool!!

  3. Shame I m planning my visit there soon
    I miss out again
    I never flown on the 747 each I book ticket to USA its 767 are 777 ,330

  4. I was there 2 years ago but wasn’t ready for the KLM 747 to come in when it did and vowed to be ready with camera the next day. It was a no-show for the next 2 days, obviously not a daily flight.

  5. The 747 landing is cool but the start of a MD83 of Insel Air is also very nice. I was there from october 9 till 16 2016 when KLM made one of the lowest landings ever ( you can see that one at the Maho Beach webcam ). It was great and i have lots of pictures to remind me of this spottingtrip en coolest beach.

  6. So sad to the the best ‘plane in the world, the 747, stopping flying to this amazing place, giving so many people one of the best aviation sightings of all the airports…The new Airbus flight holds nothing to the true aviation enthusiasts..BRING BACK THE 747….PLEASE…..

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