Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport

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Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport
Isla Grande Airport
Aeropuerto Isla Grande
Isla Grande Airport SanJuan PuertoRico.jpg
IATA: SIGICAO: TJIGFAA LID: SIG
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Puerto Rico Ports Authority
Serves San Juan, Puerto Rico
Location Miramar, Puerto Rico
Elevation AMSL 9 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 18°27′24″N 066°05′54″W / 18.45667°N 66.09833°W / 18.45667; -66.09833Coordinates: 18°27′24″N 066°05′54″W / 18.45667°N 66.09833°W / 18.45667; -66.09833
Map
SIG is located in Puerto Rico
SIG
SIG
Location of airport in Puerto Rico
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 5,539 1,688 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 101,694
Passenger Movement 105,107
Based aircraft 299
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
Operations from the FAA[2]
Passengers from the Puerto Rico Ports Authority
Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport's runway can be seen at the top right of this photo of San Juan's ship dock

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (IATA: SIGICAO: TJIGFAA LID: SIG), also commonly known as Isla Grande Airport, is a small airport in Miramar, which is a district in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is owned by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority[1] and is adjacent to the new Puerto Rico Convention Center, the San Juan Bay, and the Pan American Cruise Ship Terminal, and overlooks Cataño. While Isla Grande's main operation is with general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, dealing with some domestic and international commercial flights.

As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 13,837 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[3] 23,083 enplanements in 2009, and 38,363 in 2010.[4] It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).[5]

History[edit]

Originally constructed by the U.S. Navy as Naval Air Station Isla Grande just prior to World War II,[6] the facility also served as Puerto Rico's main international airport until 1954, when Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport was built. Until that year, international airlines such as Deutsche Luft Hansa, Iberia Airlines, Pan Am and other majors flew to Isla Grande. However, since Isla Grande airport was not built to accept jets, all international airlines then moved their operations in Puerto Rico to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, then named Isla Verde International Airport.

Until 1971, the airport also hosted Coast Guard Air Station San Juan. That year, the Coast Guard relocated its air station to Ramey Air Force Base on Puerto Rico's northwest coast.

Isla Grande was renamed in honor of United States Air Force Major Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an F-111 pilot who was killed in action during Operation El Dorado Canyon; the 1986 airstrike of Libya.

A controversy regarding Isla Grande and Dorado Airport surfaced in 2003. Dorado Airport wanted to expand and attract the private aviation sector that has been Isla Grande's main business for so long. Dorado airport eventually became a victim of urban development in Dorado and no longer exists.

On October 26, 2003, the airport made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican site of a SCCA Grand Prix race.[citation needed]

In 2006, after a detailed impact study and many rumors about the future of the airport, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority announced that Isla Grande airport would remain open for the foreseeable future, mostly because of its key function as the primary reliever for the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.[7]

On August 4, 2011 the FAA announced that they were planning to close the airport's control tower due to budget cuts, since they operate it instead of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.[citation needed]

On July 8, 2012 airport officials denied via written communication to a local newspaper of "any plans to eliminate or privatize the airport, since the airport is one of the most important airports for general aviation on Puerto Rico, taking into account that its operation approximates around 300 daily operations." On that same newspaper it was published that Seaborne Airlines would transition its operations to the neighboring Luis Muñoz Marin Intl Airport with complete pullout on January 16, 2013.[8]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport covers an area of 102 acres (41 ha) at an elevation of 9 feet (3 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 9/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 5,542 by 100 feet (1,689 x 30 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending September 30, 2013, the airport had 116,447 aircraft operations, an average of 319 per day: 92% general aviation, 6% air taxi, and 2% military. At that time there were 232 aircraft based at this airport: 33% single-engine, 37% multi-engine, 1% jet, 24% helicopter, and 6% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service at this airport:

Airlines Destinations
Air Flamenco Culebra, Vieques, St. Croix, St. Thomas
Vieques Air Link Culebra, Vieques

Charter destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
M&N Aviation La Romana, Punta Cana, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, Vieques

Statistics[edit]

Carrier shares (March 2011 - February 2012)[9]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
Seaborne
44,780(71.91%)
Vieques
17,500(28.09%)
Top domestic destinations (March 2011 - February 2012)[9]
Rank City Airport Passengers
1 Christiansted, VI (St. Croix) Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) 11,000
2 Charlotte Amalie, VI (St. Thomas) Cyril E. King Airport (STT) 11,000
3 Vieques, PR Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS) 9,000

Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility[edit]

The Puerto Rico Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility is the only military site on Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport. Its mission is to support the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Aviation Units and U.S. Army South operations in the caribbean. Some of the military aircraft at this facility are the UH72 Lakota and the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

Incidents[edit]

  • On April 11, 1952 Pan Am Flight 526A crashed into the sea just after take off due to engine failure, killing 52 out of 69 passengers and crew.
  • In December 2002, a helicopter that had been rented from a company that operates out of this airport was hijacked and taken to a jail in Ponce, where six inmates boarded the helicopter, forcing the pilot to drop them off at a farm. The pilot was able to fly back after he lied to the prisoners about their whereabouts, making them jump off the helicopter and zig-zagging the helicopter to prevent them from shooting at him. Soon after, all escapees were found by the police.

References[edit]

External links[edit]