Flamingo International Airport

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Flamingo International Airport

Bonaire International Airport
Airport typePublic
OperatorBonaire International Airport N.V.
LocationKralendijk, Bonaire
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL20 ft / 6 m
Coordinates12°07′52″N 068°16′07″W / 12.13111°N 68.26861°W / 12.13111; -68.26861Coordinates: 12°07′52″N 068°16′07″W / 12.13111°N 68.26861°W / 12.13111; -68.26861
BON is located in Bonaire
Location in Bonaire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 2,880 9,449 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations20,001
Sources: DAFIF[1]
Statistics from Bonaire International Airport[2]

Flamingo International Airport (IATA: BON, ICAO: TNCB), also called Bonaire International Airport, is an international airport located near Kralendijk on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. It was the once the hub for BonaireExel and CuraçaoExel before they were rebranded as Dutch Antilles Express, and served as a secondary hub for Dutch Antilles Express and Insel Air. The airport is the fourth largest in the Dutch Caribbean, after Queen Beatrix International Airport on Aruba, Princess Juliana International Airport on Sint Maarten and Curaçao International Airport on Curaçao.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, TUI Airlines Netherlands and United Airlines are currently the largest airlines that operate scheduled flights to Bonaire. The airport is capable of handling wide-body aircraft up to the Boeing 747, though the largest type to operate to Bonaire currently is the Airbus A330, operated by KLM. The airport is currently a hub for EZAir and once served as a hub for BonaireExel/BonaireExel, CuracaoExel/Curacao Express, Dutch Antilles Express and KLM. It also serves as a focus city for Divi Divi Air and also served for the aforementioned Dutch Antilles Express prior to ceasing operations, as well as Air ALM, Dutch Caribbean Airlines and Insel Air.


Bonaire's first airport was located near Tra'i Montaña Subi Blanku and crossed the current road from Kralendijk to Rincon. It was only a landing strip and a shelter. It was built in 1936 and is considered the location of the beginning of aviation on Bonaire.[3]

The construction work for this airport began on September 23, 1935. The intention was to make a longer runway, but it proved impossible to construct more than 475 meters because the eastern portion of the land was very low. Part of the field had to be modified, in particular where aircraft met or left the ground during landing and take-off. This area covered more than 100 metres of the runway, and had to be paved with a mixture of sand and stone.

KLM decided on May 9, 1936, to route-test the first flight to Bonaire from Curaçao. The Oriol (Fokker F-XVIII "Snip"), was chosen for this test. The first experimental landing was successful and also a historic moment. KLM made the first official flight with passengers on May 31, 1936.

American soldiers arrived on Bonaire in the second half of 1943 and their commander stated that a new airport had to be built. In December 1943, construction began in the vicinity of where the airport is today. The new airport, named "Flamingo Airport", was put into use in 1945. This was a big step forward for Bonaire and its aviation system. A small terminal was built that was suitable for the number of passengers at the time. This building was used until 1976.

The construction of a new runway began in the last months of 1953 and was completed in 1955. The small terminal had been extended with a terrace where luggage could be delivered. The runway was extended and expanded several times. In 1960, the runway had a length of 1430 meters and a width of 30 meters. Hotels and interested parties on the island continued to push for a further extension of the runway so that charter flights from the United States were able to land here. Those flights were typically operated with McDonnell Douglas DC-8 or Boeing 707 aircraft.

In 1970 the runway was extended to a length of 1750 meters and a width of 30 meters, enough for a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 to land and take-off with full load. On June 7, 1974, a public tender for the construction of a new terminal building was made. The building became operational in 1976. Meanwhile, hotels and foreign investors continued to insist that the runway be extended further. This was needed before any more hotels could be built. In 1980 the runway was again extended to 2400 meter long and 45 meters wide, and in 2000 another extension resulted in the current length of 2880 meter to facilitate the largest airliners on intercontinental flights.

The Dutch national carrier, KLM, used the airport to refuel planes en route from Amsterdam to Ecuador and Peru, using MD-11 between 2000 and 2011.

Airport information and facilities[edit]


The first Bonaire-Miami flight took place on April 19, 1980, thanks largely to the runway extension of that year. The current runway of 2880m is long enough for flights to Europe with a maximum take-off weight. KLM began with flights to Peru and later to Ecuador with a fuel stop on Bonaire in 2002. In recent years, the facilities at the airport have been modernized and expanded. There is a new departure hall, a new platform for wide body aircraft and a fuel farm. As of 2009, Flamingo Airport is a full service stop for transit flights and the destination for many tourist flights, with air-conditioned offices, a restaurant, a departure hall and stores.

The airport registered a more than 10% increase in passengers in the first quarter of 2008. The increase has much to do with the Delta and Continental Airlines flights. Compared to the same period last year also the local passengers increased by 10.6%. International traffic increased by 8.8% which is breakthrough for the airport.

Since November 2005, visitors and tourists arriving at Bonaire are welcomed to a vibrant new Business and Tourism Showcase. A variety of colorful murals, vivid flat-panel displays, and high-profile sponsored windsurfing sails will showcase all that the island of Bonaire has to offer. Pennsylvania-based Interspace Airport Advertising, through its subsidiary, Interspace Airport Advertising Curaçao, N.V., created the new terminal-wide advertising display program. Interspace will also manage the program through a 10-year partnership with the airport authority.[4]

The airport has two main ramps. The smaller ramp, which is situated in front of the airport building, consists of 4 Parking Positions (PP1, PP2, PP3 and PP4) and is mainly used by smaller operating aircraft such as those of Divi Divi, EZAir, and Insel Air, as well as private aircraft with short ground times, along with the larger Delta, United and Arkefly aircraft when the larger apron is in use by another large aircraft. The larger ramp is used for wide bodied aircraft such as KLM and Arkefly, but is also used by United, Delta and Insel Air when vacant. The larger ramp consist of two parking spots (PP5 and PP6). The management of the airport is currently working on the apron to allow two wide-bodied aircraft to park alongside each other, with the use of pushback cars, when ready for departure. At the beginning of the runway lies the General Aviation ramp, where mostly private aircraft are located. Due to overcrowding of the GA Ramp, some private aircraft utilize the larger ramp at PP6 to park when overnighting and long stays.

In the past, the airport has been served by Air ABC, Air ALM, Air Aruba, Air Europe (Italy), Air Jamaica, American Eagle (Executive Airlines), Avensa, Avior Airlines, BonAir/Chapi Air, Bonaire Express/Curaçao Express (later Dutch Antilles Express), Canada 3000, Cats Air, Dutch Caribbean Airlines, E-Liner Airways, Kavok Airlines, LASER Airlines, Línea Turística Aereotuy, Martinair, Miami Air International, Rainbow Air, Royal Aruban Airlines, Servivensa, Sobelair, Surinam Airways (currently operates seasonal charters), Tiara Air and Transaven.

Both BonAeroClub and Falki Aviation Center offers sightseeing opportunities and also flight lessons with their fleets of Cessna 172's.[5][6]

Parking system and charges[edit]

Since May 2008, Bonaire International Airport (BIA) has started with the renovation of the parking places at Flamingo Airport. The airport introduces short- and long-term paid parking. Financial manager Gerard Chin-A-Lien indicated that the project will cost US$2.1 million. Most of this money will be spent on paving, installing the automatic parking system, landscaping, and lighting. This service official started on 5 September 2008. It is not possible to drop off passengers for free since August 2009 as you have to pay 1 guilder for the first 30 minutes and 1 guilder for each 30 minutes after that with a maximum of 20 guilders per day. Long parking costs 10 guilders per day. According to security manager Tico Wanga, a lot of attention is paid to safety with sufficient lights and cameras everywhere, and patrolling security personnel.[7][8]

Check-in system and airport tax fee[edit]

In October 2008, Bonaire introduced a Common Use Terminal Equipment system from SITA. This is a common use system whereby all airlines can use each of the 12 available check-in counters at Flamingo Airport. More flexibility is obtained while the processing capacity of passengers at the check-in counters is increased and made more efficient. The older check-in system worked with so-called dedicated check-in counters which were usable by only one particular airline and could not be used by other airlines, thus restricting processing capacity.

Due to the introduction of this new system, Bonaire International Airport N.V. began charging each departing passenger a service charge, starting December 1, 2008. This service charge amounts to 3.00 guilders (about US$1.69) and is added to the existing passenger facility charge (airport tax).[9] As of October 2010, all airport taxes have been integrated within all purchased tickets for all airlines.


It is planned to expand the current airport building, including the current arrival and departure hall, as more airlines and tourists come to Bonaire. It is also planned to repair the airport's runway after certain speculations that the runway had a crack in it. The Dutch Transport Minister, Camiel Eurlings, calculates that it will cost about €20 million (57 million guilders) to repair Bonaire's worn-out Flamingo International Airport runway. Since Bonaire is now the responsibility of the Netherlands, including ownership of the airport, it must comply with European standards, which are much stricter than the ICAO standards. Recently, the worldwide civil aviation authority conducted an audit on all of the airports within the Dutch Kingdom (including the rest of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and said that they are just within standards. "Regarding the condition of the airport of Bonaire, there is no need to panic, there is no acute danger, only overdue maintenance. The runway needs heavy renovations and the people of Bonaire need a vital airport," concluded Eurlings.[10]

The management of the airport is drawing up a master plan to comply with international requirements. There are three important projects planned which include:

  1. Maintenance and complete renovation of the runway, as mentioned above (completed in 2011)[11],
  2. Moving the fire station to the middle of the runway (completed in 2016),
  3. Purchasing two push-back cars for the heavy jets (One already purchased and in-use with KLM flights)

Management is working very hard to make sure that Bonaire International Airport is as safe as possible and this way could welcome the aircraft that come to Bonaire and contribute to the growth of the tourism on the island.

In 2008, Bonaire International Airport began realizing it's 15-year master plan, which was adopted by the island government in 2009, and Phase 1 (complete runway renovation) already has been completed in 2011. Phase 2A called for a new Air Traffic Control Tower, while Phase 2B will bring a new apron and two taxiways to the runway. Phase 3 will realize a new, state-of-the-art passenger terminal. Phases 2B and 3 is planned to be conducted simultaneously. Currently, additional scenarios are also being reviewed.[12]

Work on the new Rescue & Fire Fighting Station began on October 9, 2014 and was officially introduced in 2016, while the new control tower was finalized in 2017.[13] The old control tower was torn down in mid-2017.

Although a new passenger terminal and apron were in plans to be built, the airport has opted to work on the current building by expanding the departure hall due to the growth in passenger movements in recent years. Almost doubling the size of the current departure hall to handle 500 instead of 300 passengers per hour to greatly improve passenger experience when departing Bonaire. Although work is being done on the departure hall only, plans include expansion of the arrival as well, depending on the airport's ability to be able to pay for the expenditures.[14]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

While not connected globally, Bonaire is served year-round service by airlines from the Caribbean, the Netherlands and the United States, as well as seasonal direct services from Canada with plans including additional airlift options from South America currently being negiotiated. Private aircraft also serve the island of Bonaire. The following airlines operate regular scheduled and seasonal services to and from Bonaire:[15]

American Airlines Miami
Aruba Airlines Aruba, Curaçao
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Divi Divi Air Curaçao
Charter: Aruba
EZAir Aruba, Curaçao
Charter: Baranquilla
KLM Amsterdam1
Sky High Aviation Services Santo Domingo
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson
TUI fly Netherlands Amsterdam2
United Airlines Houston–Intercontinental, Newark
Winair Curaçao
  • ^1 KLM's flights operate from Amsterdam to Bonaire via Aruba. However, the airline does not have cabotage rights to transport passengers solely between Aruba and Bonaire. The flight continues from Bonaire to Amsterdam directly.
  • ^2 TUI fly Netherlands's flights operate between Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao on selected days. However, the airline does not have cabotage rights to transport passengers solely between Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.




Items [16] 2008 - Q1 2008-Q2 2008-Q3 2008-Q4 extrapol. 08 year 2007
Total movements 3.892 3.927 nyk nyk 15.638 15.249
movements, NATIONAL 2.397 2.691 nyk nyk 10.176 9.615
movements, INTERNATIONAL 807 826 nyk nyk 3.266 3.354
OTHER movements 668 410 nyk nyk 2.156 2.280
TOTAL passengers 124.624 117.349 nyk nyk 483.946 513.948
- departing NAT 23.365 23.581 nyk nyk 93.892 94.947
- departing INT 21.212 18.567 nyk nyk 79.558 66.215
- arrivals NAT 23.110 23.547 nyk nyk 93.314 93.382
- arrivals INT 21.207 18.417 nyk nyk 79.248 69.497
- Transit 35.730 33.237 nyk nyk 137.934 187.907
Freight (ton) 114 73 nyk nyk 374 376
Mail (ton) 14 15 nyk nyk 58 55
Note: The extrapolated data for 2008 are calculated without taking seasonal influences into account.
nyk:not yet known

Historical statistics[edit]

Between 2000 and 2003 the airport saw ongoing growth in passengers and freight but some decline since 2004 [17]

Type of traffic 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
Passenger throughput 536.651 573.487 371.805 2765.185 314.152
Cargo (tons) 715 760 477 345 370
Total Movements 15.992 18.195 13.525 9.981 9.684

Runway and approach[edit]

The single runway 10/28 is 2,880 m × 45 m (9,449 ft × 148 ft). The actual heading is 92° or 272°. For runway 10 a Simple Approach Landing System is in place, for runway 28 no visual approach aids are available. Lighting of runway complies with all current regulations and back-up power system is available.[18][19]

Reported/official runway-dimensions:

See for explanation of used terms article on runway
Runway TORA ASDA TODA LDA Obstructions Strip dimensions
10 2880 2880 3020 2780 none 3000x150 [18]
28 2880 2880 3030 2880 none 3000x150 [19]

Flamingo International Airport operates a Non-directional beacon on 321 kHz[17] and a VHF Omnidirectional Range on 115 MHz

General aviation facilities[edit]


Apart from the passenger terminal Bonaire Airport has facilities for freight and mail. Catering is available since Goddard Catering opened an airline kitchen on the island in 2003 offering complete airline catering. The Aruba kitchen uses ready-made imported frozen hot meals and locally made salads and appetizers.[20] Since March 31, 2015, Goddard Catering has closed down its operations in Bonaire as KLM made a decision to move all of its catering services to Aruba.[21]

Ground handling[edit]

Three local ground handlers operate at Bonaire airport.[22]

  • Air Handling Service Bonaire (also known as AHS or AHSB), is the ground handling agent for Delta Air Lines, Insel Air, Sky High Aviation Services, United Airlines as of October 2016 and Winair. It was also the agent for American Eagle before they discontinued their flights from and to San Juan and Dutch Antilles Express before halting operations in 2013. They also provide handling services to private jets.
  • Bonaire Air Services (also known as BAS), is the ground handling agent for Air France-KLM, American Airlines and TUI Airlines Netherlands (formerly Arkefly/Arke) as well as Sunwing Airlines during their winter season flights as well as some cargo services (such as Amerijet, Aerosucre and Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas). It was also the agent for Air Jamaica prior to their discontinued flight to Bonaire and, United Airlines (formerly known and operated as Continental Airlines).[23] BAS is also the ground handler for charter flights operated by Aerolíneas Estelar, Conviasa, LASER Airlines and Surinam Airways.
  • Progressive Air Services (also known as PAS), is currently the ground handling agent for Aruba Airlines and was for Rainbow air, Tiara Air until their discontinued flights and is a partnership with BonAir. Progressive Air Services also provides handling service to various private jets that visit the island as well as cargo services (such as Ameriflight). It was also the ground handling agent for Kavok Airlines and Transaven. PAS was also the ground handler for charter flights operated by Línea Turística Aereotuy.

Swissport also served as one of the cargo and aircraft ground handling services on the island. Swissport was the ground handling agent for Arkefly (Curaçao), DAE (Curaçao) & Insel Air (Curaçao) before the handling of DAE & Insel Air has been later handled by Air Handling Services Bonaire and Arkefly is being handled by Bonaire Air Services.[24]

As of 2018, Bonaire also has services for private aircraft by Bonaire Jet Center' which is part of the CATS Group whom also has services in Cuba, Curacao and Venezuela.[25]

Divi Divi Air and EZAir are the only airlines with their own handling services and employees.


Aviation Jet A1 fuel is available 24 hours a day via Valero Bonaire Fuels Co N.V., owned by Valero Energy Corporation. On-site capacity of the tank-farm consists of two storage tanks of 630,000 gallons each. Every other week jet fuel is delivered to the island via a tanker from their own refinery at Aruba. Valero operates a direct pipeline from their landing-jetty to the airport. Two refueller trucks each with 15.000 gallons and one with 10,000 gallons are available.[26]

Emergency equipment[edit]

The airport is categorized as Fire Category 9 and on-site equipment includes four crashtenders and one rapid-intervention unit.[17]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On November 3, 2003, a Mitsubishi MU-2 twin-engine turboprop crashed while on final after reporting an emergency with its engines. The tower received the message from the pilot, Hans van Gijn, 57, flying aircraft registration number N630HA, reporting engine problems and that ditching in the sea was a possibility. It had departed Bonaire earlier in the day to pick up a medical patient in Aruba for transport to Baranquilla, Colombia. After dropping off the patient and a male nurse in Baranquilla, the plane headed back to Bonaire. Minutes before it was due to land both engines stopped. The powerless plane glided over the shoreline and almost made it to the runway. It appeared that the undercarriage of the plane snagged on the cyclone fence bordering the shore road and flipped over. There was no fire. The plane was completely mangled except for the passenger compartment. The pilot survived and from the wreckage it appeared that he exited through the cockpit door.[27]
  • On October 14, 2009, a single-engined private plane exploded in mid-air while flying over Bonaire. Witnesses near the west coast of the island witnessed a ball of fire falling from the sky at around 9 pm. The bodies of the pilot and a passenger were recovered along with bales of drugs. The bodies, aircraft type and drug type have yet[when?] to be identified.[28]
  • On October 21, 2009, a Britten-Norman Islander BN-2A flight operated by local commuter airline, Divi Divi Air Flight 014 lost an engine while in flight to Bonaire and had to ditch in the sea south-west of Klein Bonaire and five minutes out from Bonaire. Pilot Robert Mansell, 32, managed to successfully ditch the plane in the water but was knocked unconscious on impact. The passengers tried to undo his safety harness, but the plane was sinking too fast and he went down with the aircraft, but rescue boats managed to pick up all of the nine passengers that were on board. The aircraft involved was registered as PJ-SUN[29]


  1. ^ Airport information for TNCB at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ "Bonaire International Airport - Flamingo Airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  3. ^ History of Flamingo Airport on the airports official website, visited on 16 June 2008
  4. ^ "Bonaire's Flamingo Airport Partners with Pennsylvania Airport Advert". DesignTAXI. 2005-07-28.
  5. ^ "Welcome to BonAeroClub". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.falkiaviation.com/home.html
  7. ^ "Bonaire International Airport - Flamingo Airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  8. ^ "The Bonaire Insider - News Item: Bonaire International Airport Is Undergoing Renovations". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  9. ^ "The Bonaire Insider - News Item: Bonaire International Airport To Initiate Service Charge for Departing Passengers December 1, 2008". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  10. ^ https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://antilliaans.caribiana.nl/politiek/car20080417_flamingo-TK&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DCamiel%2BEurlings%2BBonaire%2BAirport%26hl%3Den Bonaire Airport renovation plans and costs (translated from Dutch)
  11. ^ http://www.bonaireinternationalairport.com/home/expansion-plans/
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Airport departure hall expansion
  15. ^ "Bonaire International Airport - Flamingo Airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  16. ^ data sourced from airport website, page on: Statistics visited on 16 June 2008
  17. ^ a b c Details from A-Z Worldairports database on Bonaire, visited 22 June 2008
  18. ^ a b Data from AIP pg.4, downloaded on 22 July 2008
  19. ^ a b Data from AIP pg.5, downloaded on 22 July 2008
  20. ^ "Bonaire International Airport - Flamingo Airport". flamingoairport.com. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  21. ^ Inc, IDEAStudio. "Goddard Enterprises Limited - Barbados". goddardenterprisesltd.com. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Bonaire International Airport - Flamingo Airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Bonaire Air Services - Home". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  24. ^ Swissport Bonaire[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ [3]
  26. ^ Information based on fuel-information on the official website.
  27. ^ "Front page for The Bonaire Reporter". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Small Plane Carrying Drugs Explodes Over Caribbean Sea". Fox News. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  29. ^ mirror Administrator (24 October 2009). "Hero pilot Robert Mansell dies after saving lives of his passengers". mirror. Retrieved 6 June 2015.

External links[edit]