Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport

Coordinates: 18°27′24″N 66°05′54″W / 18.45667°N 66.09833°W / 18.45667; -66.09833
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Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport

Isla Grande Airport
Aeropuerto Isla Grande
Isla Grande Airport (SIG), San Juan, Puerto Rico (12173864883).jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerPuerto Rico Ports Authority
ServesSan Juan, Puerto Rico
LocationIsla Grande
Elevation AMSL10 ft / 3 m
Coordinates18°27′24″N 66°05′54″W / 18.45667°N 66.09833°W / 18.45667; -66.09833
SIG is located in Puerto Rico
Location of airport in Puerto Rico
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 5,539 1,688 Asphalt
Source: FAA[1] GCM[2] Google Maps[3]

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (IATA: SIG, ICAO: TJIG, FAA LID: SIG), also commonly known as Isla Grande Airport, is an airport in Isla Grande, a district in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is owned by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and is adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the San Juan Bay, and the Pan American Cruise Ship Terminal, and overlooks Cataño. While Isla Grande's main activity is general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, handling domestic and international commercial flights.

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).[4]


NAS San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the mid-1940s

Originally constructed by the U.S. Navy as Naval Air Station Isla Grande just prior to World War II,[5] the facility also served as Puerto Rico's main international airport until 1954, when San Juan Isla Verde International Airport (subsequently renamed Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in 1985) was built. Until that year, all international airlines, such as Deutsche Luft Hansa, Iberia Airlines, Delta and Pan Am, flew to Isla Grande.

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.

In early 2003, it was announced that the Puerto Rico Grand Prix would be held on a 1.6 mile, 10-turn, temporary circuit on the airport's runway and taxiways as the season final of the 2003 SCCA Trans Am Series. The race, held on October 26, 2003, was won by Puerto Rican native Wally Castro.[6][7] The event was initially on the 2004 Trans-Am Series schedule, but was cancelled a month before it's running.[8]

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.[9]

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, a regional air carrier, would transition its scheduled passenger operations to the neighboring San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) with complete pullout on January 16, 2013.[10]

For a short period of time between 2007 and 2009, the airport became the flight hub of Puerto Rico's unofficial flag carrier, Prinair, when that airline briefly returned to operating.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport covers an area of 102 acres (41 ha) at an elevation of 10 feet (3.0 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 9/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 5,539 by 100 feet (1,688 by 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]


Air Flamenco Culebra, Vieques
M&N Aviation Charter: La Romana, Punta Cana, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo–Las Americas, Vieques
Vieques Air Link Culebra, Vieques


Carrier shares (Dec 2014 – Nov 2015)[11]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
Top domestic destinations (June 2018 – May 2019)[11]
Rank City Airport Passengers
1 Culebra, Puerto Rico Benjamín Rivera Noriega Airport (CPX) 8,350
2 Vieques, Puerto Rico Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS) 8,220

Puerto Rico Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility[edit]

The Puerto Rico 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 and the following units:[12]

The military aircraft at this facility are UH-72 Lakota and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and the Beechcraft C-12 Huron.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On October 1, 1942, a Douglas C-39 (DC-2) of the U.S. Army Air Forces flying from Losey Field in southern Puerto Rico to Isla Grande crashed into a hill in Coamo instead, killing all 22 people on board.[13]
  • On April 11, 1952, Pan Am Flight 526A crashed into the sea just after takeoff due to engine failure, killing 52 out of 69 passengers and crew.
  • On December 21, 1991, a United Airlines Boeing 757 flight en route to San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport mistakenly landed at Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport. The aircraft, which was on a chartered flight as United Airlines Flight 5850, was later flown, without any passengers onboard (as the passengers departed from Isla Grande to their hotels by bus), to Luis Munoz Marin Airport.[14]
  • June 7, 1992: An Executive Air (for American Eagle) CASA 212 flying from Dominicci Airport crashed short of the runway in Mayagüez, killing both crew members and all three passengers.[15]
  • 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.
  • On January 10, 2015, a Robinson R22 collided with the ocean (near Cataño Ferry terminal, San Juan bay) shortly after takeoff due to unknown reasons (as of 9/14/15), killing 1 (student performing a solo flight) and leaving the helicopter damaged beyond repair.
  • On July 4, 2017, an aircraft that had taken off Ribas Dominicci Airport crashed nearby at a bay. The crash resulted in four injuries.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for SIG PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Airport information for Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport at Great Circle Mapper.
  3. ^ "Isla Grande Airport". Google Maps. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
  5. ^ "Building the Navy's Bases in World War II". Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  6. ^ "Puerto Rico Grand Prix Releases Circuit Map". The Auto Channel. July 25, 2003. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Paese, Gabrielle (October 31, 2003). "Wally Castro Scores Upset Victory At P.R. Grand Prix". Puerto Rico Herald. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Puerto Rico Grand Prix canceled". Motorsport.com. September 6, 2004. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  9. ^ "Historic Puerto Rico GA Airport Saved! Isla Grande Economic Analysis Sways Politicos". Aero-News Network. July 18, 2006.
  10. ^ "Niegan el cierre del Aeropuerto de Isla Grande Archived July 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Vocero de Puerto Rico July 8, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "San Juan, PR: Isla Grande (SIG)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation. February 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "PR ARNG Army Aviation Support Facility".
  13. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-39 (DC-2) 38-524 Coamo". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "United Flight Lands at Wrong Airport". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident CASA C-212 Aviocar 200 N355CA Mayaguez-Eugenio M. de Hostos Airport (MAZ)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "Una avioneta con cuatro tripulantes cae en la Bahía de San Juan". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). July 4, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2021.

External links[edit]