Aruba Airlines A319 A4-AAE lands at Oranjestad Queen Beatrix International Airport – Click photo to enlarge
Greetings from Aruba! Visiting the “one happy island” (as they market it) has been on my to-do list since Southwest started service here a few years back via integration of AirTran’s ops into their own. As luck would have it, my newly minted AvGeek wife was amenable to a honeymoon visit. SXM, the AvGeek Mecca, would have been our first choice, but that island is still in repair mode from extensive damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
PlaneSpotting in Aruba: Hotel private island south of Oranjestad Queen Beatrix International Airport – Image: Flightradar24.com
While researching PlaneSpotting in Aruba, I was delighted to learn that two local hotels share a private island which runs alongside Aruba’s airport – Oranjestad Queen Beatrix International Airport. While no #MahoBeach, this would certainly fit the bill for running away from the already cold (and falling) Kansas City temps to enjoy some tropical weather, and allowing us to check out some planes. Bonus points for wild iguanas, pelicans, and an occasional flamingo as well.
The island is only accessible via 10-minute boat ride, and is exclusive to guests of one of two Renaissance properties in Aruba. As a sort of deterrent to outsiders, the boat captains ask each passenger for their keycard and insert it into what is almost certainly a phony offline card reader. In any case, should you plan to visit, stay at one of the two properties or call ahead to make other arrangements. We heard twice that non-customers can purchase a day pass to the island depending on availability. Being that this was our honeymoon and I recently achieved lifetime Marriott platinum status, it seemed appropriate to stay at one of the upscale properties.
We spent most of the day on the island, hopping in and out of the ocean between active and inactive arrival periods. For any other relationship or honeymoon, this wouldn’t be tolerated, but thankfully my AvGeek wife was fully on board with my desire to strike a balance between unwinding while on Caribbean vacation and maintaining a healthy dose of plane spotting in Aruba. Click through to see the day’s catch…
Over the Caribbean Sea – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter
That’s one small flight for a 737, one giant leap forward for Southwest Airlines and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU). In a sign of things to come, Southwest added to its daily Aruba service out of Baltimore and Orlando with a seasonal weekly flight between Houston and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Last Saturday, I joined Southwest for the inaugural flight between Aruba and Houston. This flight was the first international commercial arrival into Hobby airport.
I ♥ Aruba, the unofficial theme of the island – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter
Although Hobby Airport does not have customs and immigration facilities, Southwest is able to operate the flight thanks to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility in Aruba, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration prior to departing for the United States. This October, however, Hobby Airport is scheduled open a new five-gate international terminal, complete with customs and immigration facilities, which will enable Southwest to further add to its international offerings at Houston.
Tiara Air’s Boeing 737-300. Photo courtesy of Tiara Air.
I think more airlines should be named after the kids of their founders. Imagine how much more personal an airline like American would be if it had a name like “Nicole Airlines.”
Tiara Air, based at Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba, was founded by Alejandro Muyale and named for his daughter Tiara Muyale. Tiara (the airline) flies to locations in the Carribean and South America, with newly added routs to Caracas, Maracaibo, Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten. Yes, U.S. citizens, that means Tiara can now make your Aruba dreams come true!
The airline flies two Short 360 twin-engine turboprop aircraft and the Boeing 737-300 seen here.
The livery on this plane is somewhat predictable, though festive. Yellow and blue cheatlines run down the length of the fuselage, with the word “Aruba” and a red star slapped, somewhat awkwardly, onto the forward section. It looks cool, and leaves no question as to the destination of the plane. The blue tail includes the company logo and, what else, a tiara.
What do you think of Tiara Air’s livery on its 737-300?
|This story written by…Travis Griffith.Travis is a published author and professional writer who believes in driving fast, flying high and living today like there’s no tomorrow. Automobiles, aviation and travel top the long list of his varied interests.|
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