Video: KLM 747 Returns to St. Maarten to Provide Hurricane Irma Relief

Sep 16, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Back in October 2016, aviation enthusiasts everywhere were saddened to mark the final scheduled 747 flight to/from the iconic Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St. Maarten. No longer would beachgoing AvGeeks get to watch the Queen of the Skies pass just over their heads right before landing or sandblast beachgoers at departure.

Since then, things have taken a tragic turn for the AvGeek haven. Hurricane Irma decimated the French/Dutch Caribbean island, with officials reporting that the island was 95% destroyed. The island and its residents are in drastic need of assistance.

And who better to bring needed relief than the Queen of the Skies herself.

(Translation: KLM Boeing 747 has just landed successfully on St. Maarten to pick up passengers.)

Shortly after 8:00am local time on Saturday morning, a KLM 747 unceremoniously landed in SXM for the first time since that last scheduled flight in October 2016. Unlike most KLM flights into SXM, this flight didn’t originate in Amsterdam (AMS), but instead arrived from Willemstad, Curacao (CUR). The significantly shorter 1:17-hour route — operated by a Boeing 747-400COMBI with the registration PH-BFT — likely allowed the aircraft to trade fuel weight for cargo weight. Because rather than being packed with tourists, this flight was packed with relief supplies.

And its mission wasn’t done upon landing. As reported by St. Maarten’s The Daily Herald:

In St. Maarten the aircraft will pick up persons in need of assistance, stranded tourists of all nationalities and other persons who don’t live on the island and want to leave. The evacuees will be flown to Aruba.

The KLM 747 is joining a hodgepodge of evacuation vehicles ranging from Dutch military aircraft to Royal Caribbean cruise ships. As the first of two evacuation flights scheduled for Saturday, KLM flight #727 departed SXM for Aruba (AUA) shortly after 10:00am local time.

According to RoutesOnline, the aircraft was scheduled to turn around in AUA and operate flight #728 back to SXM Saturday afternoon, departing AUA at 12:30pm local time. As of publishing, that flight hasn’t yet been operated.

For those hoping to visit SXM post-Irma, KLM’s flights into the island are currently cancelled through the end of September. But considering the extent of the island’s damage, it might be a lot longer before the island is able to welcome tourists again.

Featured image by Alberto Riva.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.