Bonriki International Airport

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Bonriki International Airport
Bonriki International Airport2.jpg
Airport typePublic
ServesTarawa, Kiribati
LocationBonriki, South Tarawa
Hub for
Elevation AMSL9 ft / 3 m
Coordinates01°22′54″N 173°08′49″E / 1.38167°N 173.14694°E / 1.38167; 173.14694Coordinates: 01°22′54″N 173°08′49″E / 1.38167°N 173.14694°E / 1.38167; 173.14694
TRW is located in Kiribati
Location of airport in Kiribati
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,011 6,598 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Bonriki International Airport (IATA: TRW, ICAO: NGTA) is an international airport in Kiribati, serving as the main gateway to the country. It is located in its capital, South Tarawa, which is a group of islets in the atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

Fiji's national carrier, Fiji Airways, and Kiribati's state-owned airline, Air Kiribati, both connect Kiribati with Nadi, which is Fiji Airways' hub and Fiji's main international gateway. Nauru Airlines flies to Nauru International Airport, continuing to Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands, and further to Brisbane, Australia. This service was suspended from July 2008[3] to November 2009.

The airport is the hub of the only two Kiribati airlines, flag carrier Air Kiribati and the 2009-established Coral Sun Airways, with both airlines mainly flying domestic routes within the Gilbert Islands. Air Kiribati and Coral Sun Airways both serve all 16 other airports in the Gilbert Islands, but not all these destinations are flown directly from Tarawa. Coral Sun Airways is considering buying another, larger aircraft, capable of flying to the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands. As of 2018, only the Line Islands can be flown to, but these can only be reached by flying via Fiji.


Bonriki Airport in January 2016

The airport was built in December 1943 by United States Navy Seabees and was named "Mullinix Field", in honor of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinix, who died in the sinking of the USS Liscome Bay on 24 November 1943 after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the Gilbert Islands.

Almost immediately after the completion of the runway, it became the nexus of United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) operations from Tarawa, as the runway at nearby Hawkins Field on Betio was too short for safe bomber operations. The longer runway at Mullinix became the base for the VII Bomber Command Headquarters, which directed operations against Japanese forces in the Marshall Islands. In addition, the USAAF stationed the B-24 Liberator-equipped 11th Bombardment Group and B-25 Mitchell-equipped 41st Bombardment Group at the airfield.

In April 1944, the land-based units moved forward to Kwajalein Airfield in the Marshall Islands, and shortly thereafter, Mullinix was reduced to an emergency airfield. By the end of the war, the Americans abandoned the facilities and the airfield was turned into a civilian airport. [4] [5] [6]


Bonriki International Airport
Air Kiribati's former ATR 72 aircraft at Bonriki International Airport

The airport resides at an elevation of 9 feet (3 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 09/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,011 by 41 metres (6,598 ft × 135 ft).[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Air Kiribati Abaiang, Abemama, Butaritari, Funafuti, Kuria, Maiana, Nonouti, Tabiteuea North
Air Kiribati operated by Solomon Airlines Brisbane,[7] Honiara[8]
Fiji Airways Nadi
Nauru Airlines Majuro, Nauru, Pohnpei[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Airport information for NGTA from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  2. ^ Airport information for TRW at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ "Nauru's airline cooperates with Solomons as fuel price hikes bite". Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
  4. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website
  5. ^ Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Air Kiribati Brisbane to Tarawa". Air Kiribati. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  8. ^ "Solomon Airlines / Air Kiribati plans July 2017 Tarawa launch". Routesonline. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  9. ^ "Nauru Airlines Launches New Micronesia Island Hopper from mid-June 2015". AirlineRoute. Retrieved 8 June 2015.

External links[edit]