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Reina Beatrix Airport Aruba

Updated on February 9, 2013

Unless they come in on a boat, those who are planning a trip to the Caribbean paradise of Aruba will more than likely spend some time at the Reina Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad. Because of the views observed while landing, the approach to the runway at Reina Beatrix is considered one of the top ten in the world because of the views. Planes landing in Aruba approach over the Caribbean, and the guiding lights extend out into the water.

Reina Beatrix International Airport in Aruba
Reina Beatrix International Airport in Aruba | Source

History of the Aruba Airport

Scheduled flights between Aruba and Curacao started as far back as the 1930s. Before this era, water landings were the norm. By 1940, planes traveled between Aruba and places like Barbados, Trinidad, Miami, and Lisbon.

During World War II, the United States established an air base on the island, which led to the expansion of the airport. During this era, construction began on a new terminal building. This terminal would open in 1950. In October 1955, what had been known as the Dakota Airport took the name of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.

In 1964, an expansion of the runway permitted access for larger jet aircraft. A new terminal building started operation in 1972.

Reference: Airport History

The Approach into Reina Beatrix

Airport Facilities

The Reina Beatrix Airport has a total of 8 gates, some of which are dedicated specifically to American carriers. About 70 percent of the visitors to the island of Aruba come from the United States. The airport handles many large jets, as well as some regional turbo props for Tiara Air.

There are a number of food and beverage options, as well as souvenir shops for some of those last-minute duty-free purchases. Marriott Vacation Clubs also has a desk with an agent who is more than ready to sell a timeshare for happy vacationers who want to come back to Aruba.

There is one runway at this seaside airport. The runway can accommodate the largest jets and measures 8,999 feet. Planes approach from the northwest and fly over the water until just a few feet before touching down. A view of the hotels of Palm Beach and the capital city of Oranjestad is available for those on the side of a plane facing the island during the approach.

Guests of the Renaissance Aruba Resort can watch the planes land from the comfort of the private island owned by the hotel just off the coastline. Water taxi drivers for the Renaissance are known for stopping under the guide lights to allow patrons the opportunity to watch the planes land at Reina Beatrix.

Landing in Aruba

A plane coming into Aruba. Image taken from a water taxi.
A plane coming into Aruba. Image taken from a water taxi. | Source

Security at Reina Beatrix: Americans Be Aware

The airport has two separate security facilities. One is for those who are going to a destination that is outside the United States. The main part of the airport is reserved for those who are going back to the United States. The security process at Reina Beatrix is very unique for overseas locations. US citizens actually go through the customs process on the Aruba side.

While this process makes arrival in the United States a bit less stressful, it makes the amount of time for going through security much longer. Americans are told to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight is scheduled to leave. This is actually just about right. I was personally on a flight in December 2012, and the plane left some passengers behind for the next flight because they were still going through the security and customs line. This in-depth security and customs process is something that musts be taken into account when leaving from Aruba for the United States.

A Copa Airlines Plane Landing in Aruba, as Viewed from the Renaissance Island.
A Copa Airlines Plane Landing in Aruba, as Viewed from the Renaissance Island. | Source

Transportation at Reina Beatrix

Those arriving at Reina Beatrix will need to take a taxi if they choose not to rent a vehicle. There are vehicle rentals available at the airport, but there is no mass public transportation available.

Arrivals will depart the airport for ground transportation. This takes the form of cars and minivans. The amount charged by taxis is set by the Aruban government, so those going to Oranjestad can expect to pay $18 for a one-way trip. Travelers going to the hotel zone in Palm Beach will pay $25 for their trip. Taxis park outside the major hotels throughout the day to take passengers back to the airport.

The main drag on the west coast of Aruba is the L.G. Smith Boulevard, and the taxis will use this two-lane road to get to the hotels. Guests can appreciate some of the architecture and scenery as they travel to Oranjestad or Palm Beach.

After getting to the hotel, those who do not rent a car can ride the Arubus to go to other parts of the island. The cost of a one-way ride on Arubus is $2.30 in US currency. The buses stop at a variety of major areas along L.G. Smith Boulevard.

Airlines at Reina Beatrix

There are fifteen major airlines that have commercial operations at Reina Beatrix, according to the airport's website. Among these airlines are a number of American carriers such as Delta, American, US Air, and United.

The route that brings the most passengers from the United States to Aruba is from JFK in New York City. Miami is second when it comes to passengers from the United States. Both of these routes carry over 200,000 passengers per year to the island paradise.

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