Grantley Adams International Airport

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Grantley Adams International Airport
Grantley Adams International Airport.jpg
WMO: 78954[1][2][4]
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Barbados
Operator GAIA Inc.[3]
Serves Barbados
Location Barbados Seawell, Christ Church
Hub for LIAT
Elevation AMSL  ft / 52 m
Coordinates 13°04′29″N 059°29′33″W / 13.07472°N 59.49250°W / 13.07472; -59.49250Coordinates: 13°04′29″N 059°29′33″W / 13.07472°N 59.49250°W / 13.07472; -59.49250
A map showing the runway, taxiways and other structures of the airport.
Barbados airport diagram
TBPB is located in Barbados
Location within Barbados
Direction Length Surface
ft m
09/27 11,000 3,353 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 1,858,176
Passenger change 13–14 Increase0.7%
Aircraft movements 30,247
Movements change 13–14 Decrease4.5%
Source: DAFIF,[4][5] ACI's 2014 World Airport Traffic Report.
The airport

Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) (IATA: BGIICAO: TBPB) is in Seawell, Christ Church on the island of Barbados. Its former name was Seawell Airport before being dedicated posthumously in honour of the first Premier of Barbados, Sir Grantley Herbert Adams in 1976. The airport's timezone is GMT −4 and is in World Area Code region No. 246 (by the US Department of Transportation). GAIA is the only designated port of entry for persons arriving and departing by air in Barbados.

In 2013, the Grantley Adams Airport was the 10th busiest airport in the Caribbean region where it has direct service to destinations in the United States, Canada, Central America, South America and Europe. It operates as a major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean. The airport is a second hub for Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT). It was a hub for now-defunct Barbadian carriers Caribbean Airways[6] and REDjet, the home for the charter carrier West Indies Executive Air, and former home to the flight training school Coconut Airways. The airport is an important air-link for cruise lines departing and arriving to Bridgetown,[7] and a base of operations for the Regional Security System (RSS), and the Regional (Caribbean) Police Training Centre.

Overview and geography[edit]

Grantley Adams International Airport lies 12.9 km (8.0 mi) from the centre of the capital city Bridgetown, in an area officially known as Seawell. This is contrary to most information services stating the airport as being inside the capital.

The terrain is relatively flat and quite suburban. The airport lies in the south-eastern portion of parish of Christ Church, close to the southern tip of the island. The airport has easy access to the ABC Highway/highway 7 heading towards the capital and locations to the north and west coast.

Grantley Adams Airport is the main air transportation hub for the Eastern Caribbean.

The airport has recently undergone a multi-phase US$100 million upgrade and expansion by the government, which added a new arrivals hall adjacent to the prior arrivals/departures terminals. Construction was made slightly more complicated because the airport has to remain open for up to 16 hours per day. Its current infrastructure is supposed to meet the needs of Barbados until at least 2015. The phase III construction project, which is yet to be completed will see changes made to the aeroplane parking configuration.[8]

Runway and taxiways[edit]

The airport has a single east-westerly runway, connected by five taxiway intersections with the aircraft parking area which is adjacent to the main terminals. As a result of the tradewinds that blow from the Atlantic Ocean across Barbados from the east, planes usually land and take-off in an easterly direction. This results in a typical flight path for arriving aircraft along the west coast of Barbados, while departing flights usually fly along the east coast. On relatively rare but not uncommon occurrences, some weather disturbances, such as passing hurricanes or tropical systems, may cause planes to take off or land in a westerly direction such as on 29 August 2010.[9]

The airport is at an elevation of 52 metres (171 ft) above mean sea level.[6][7] It has a single two-mile asphalt paved runway: 09/27 measuring 11,000 by 150 feet (3,353 m × 46 m).[4]


Seawell Airport during the 1960s.

Air transportation at the site of present-day facility, then known as Seawell Airport, goes back as far as September 1938 when a mail plane from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines landed on the site from Trinidad.[10] At the time there was merely a grassy strip as the runway. The strip was paved some time later and in 1949 the first terminal was built on the site, to replace a shed that was being used. This ushered in the facility being formally known as the Seawell Airport.[citation needed]

During the 1960s the eastern flight-range just south-east of the airport became known as Paragon. This area became the initial base of a 'High Altitude Research Project' known as Project HARP. Project HARP was jointly sponsored by McGill University in Canada and the United States military.[11]

In 1983, the US-sponsored invasion of Grenada prompted the United States to form another agreement with Barbados. As part of the deal, the US expanded a part of the current airport infrastructure. This prepared Grantley Adams Airport to be used as a base.[12] As part of the plan to maintain for lasting stability in Grenada, the United States assisted in the establishment of the Regional Security System (RSS) at the eastern Grantley Adams flight-range. The RSS was (and still is) a security unit focused on providing security for the Eastern Caribbean.

Grantley Adams International Airport, as it is known today, handles most large aircraft including Boeing 747s. The airport was one of the few destinations where British Airways' Concorde aircraft made regularly scheduled flights (and got repairs). The flight time of Concorde from the United Kingdom to Barbados was less than 4 hours.[citation needed] The first Concorde visit to Barbados was in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. During the 1980s, the Concorde returned for commercial flights to Barbados and thereafter flew to Barbados during the busy winter season. On 17 October 2011, ZA006, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived at BGI for testing. This was followed by an 24 October arrival of the Boeing 747-8i for further high humidity environment testing.

2000–2006 Expansion project[edit]

Renovated terminal

Since Grantley Adams International Airport had become a relatively busy airport for such a small island and based on an expected increase in future air traffic[13] the Government of Barbados commenced a US$100 million programme to revamp the airport's infrastructure.[14][15]

Phase I, which is now complete, saw an upgrading of the runways, taxiways, parking aprons, and approach lighting. This phase included the Government of Barbados acquiring private land adjacent to the landing strip to bring the airport into compliance with new international aviation regulations.[14][15]

Phase II (also complete) included adding a new arrivals terminal adjacent to the current building; moving arrivals from the older terminal, renovating the older terminal as a departures facility, and bringing the infrastructure into the new millennium.[14][15]

Expansion after 2006[edit]

On 1 June 2007, the Bds$1.7 million Club Caribbean Executive Lounge and Business Centre[16] was opened as an added amenity for business travelers. The centre contains 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) and is on the mezzanine level.[17] The centre is meant to be used by special customers of several airlines at the terminal.[18]

The Phase III expansion had to wait until the completion of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. It envisions the addition of new airport terminal Jetway (gates), new spacious departure lounges much closer to the aeroplanes and air bridges to make connections much easier. Also nearing completion is the expanded duty-free shopping area and restaurants for travelers. In 2010 airport authorities stated that traffic to the airport was up 58%[19] and that a 20-25-year plan[20] was being formed for the facility including an addition to the taxiway and renovation of the cargo facilities up to international standards.

New arrivals building[edit]

After the expansion project, the airport's arrivals facility was moved to a separate new 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) building adjacent to the previous structure. This allowed the departures area to occupy much of the previous shared structure. The new arrivals terminal was built with five large baggage carousels, along with customs and immigration windows.


Grantley Adams International Airport has two terminal buildings designed to appear as one single continuous structure.

The first structure and oldest is the current departures terminal. This terminal stretches from gates 11–13. Before the 2000–2006 expansion project, the original single terminal building housed both the arrivals and departures facilities. The former layout was divided in two with a few duty-free shops[21] and an open-air area in the middle with trees and other greenery which was open to both halves of the terminal. The new translucent membrane that towers over the airport shows where the old terminal was split in two. Additionally the membrane tent covers the gap between the old and new terminal and gives the appearance of being a single long building.

The new terminal spans gates 1–10. The terminal currently has 22 ground-level gates.[22]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Caribbean/Regional Flights To/From Barbados—May 2015
International Flights To/From Barbados—May 2015
Thomson Airways 787-8 Landing in Barbados
Virgin Atlantic 747-400 Landing in Barbados
Air Canada 777-200 Landing in Barbados
Delta Airlines 737-800 Departing Barbados

The following airlines serve the following destinations:

Airlines Destinations
Air Berlin Seasonal: Düsseldorf, Munich
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson (ends January 6, 2016)
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson (begins January 7, 2016)
American Airlines Charlotte, Miami
Avianca Bogotá (begins December 2, 2015)[23]
British Airways London–Gatwick
Caribbean Airlines Antigua, Kingston–Norman Manley, Port of Spain, St. Maarten
Condor Frankfurt
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, New York–JFK
operated by SunExpress Deutschland
Seasonal: Cologne/Bonn
Gol Transportes Aéreos São Paulo–Guarulhos
JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale (begins April 28, 2016),[24] New York–JFK
Seasonal: Boston
LIAT Antigua, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Fort-de-France, Georgetown–Ogle, Grenada, Port of Spain, Pointe-à-Pitre, St. Kitts, St. Lucia–Vigie, St. Maarten, St. Vincent
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: Glasgow–International, London–Gatwick, Manchester
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow–International, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle
Virgin Atlantic London–Gatwick, Manchester
WestJet Toronto–Pearson


Both arrivals and departures terminals

Besides the arrivals and departures terminals, Grantley Adams International Airport included provisions for a new cargo building in the 2000–06 expansion project. The cargo needs include timely postal services in addition to airline support. The cargo facility is located on the western end of the airport next to the new arrivals building.

Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Aguadilla, San Juan
Amerijet International Fort-de-France, Georgetown–Cheddi Jagan, Grenada, Miami, Port of Spain, Santiago de los Caballeros, St. Lucia–Hewanorra, St. Vincent
Caribbean Airlines Cargo
operated by ABX Air
Miami, Port of Spain
DHL Air Caracas, Port of Spain
Solar Cargo Airlines Caracas
Tampa Cargo Miami


Traffic by calendar year. Official ACI Statistics
Passengers Change from previous year Aircraft operations Change from previous year Cargo
(metric tons)
Change from previous year
2008 2,165,125 Increase 0.68% 38,986 N.D. 19,479 N.D.
2009 1,939,059 Decrease10.44% 34,454 Decrease11.62% 21,098 Increase 8.31%
2010 1,995,167 Increase 2.89% 35,378 Increase 2.68% 22,335 Increase 5.86%
2011 2,074,654 Increase 3.98% 35,452 Increase 0.21% 22,720 Increase 1.72%
2012 1,967,571 Decrease 5.16% 34,476 Decrease 2.75% 22,322 Decrease 1.75%
2013 1,845,430 Decrease 6.21% 31,670 Decrease 8.14% 21,567 Decrease 3.38%
2014 1,858,176 Increase 0.69% 30,247 Decrease 4.49% 18,852 Decrease12.59%
Source: Airports Council International. World Airport Traffic Reports
(Years 2009,[25] 2011,[26] 2012,[27] 2013,[28] and 2014[29])

Other facilities[edit]

The head office of the Barbados Civil Aviation Department is on the airport property,[30] along the western edge of the arrivals terminal.[citation needed] In addition Barbados Meteorological Services[31] and REDjet has its head office here.[32]


TBPB is equipped with VOR/DME[33] and NDB.[34] The airport's operating hours are 24-hours.[35]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 6 October 1976, Cubana Flight 455 was bombed and crashed off the coast of Barbados[1] in a terrorist attack by suspected CIA operatives[36] shortly after the plane took off from Barbados. The plane had landed in Barbados and was en route to Havana, Cuba by Kingston, Jamaica. Persons linked to the attack and said to be hired by Luis Posada Carriles had de-planed in Barbados and made plans to fly out of the country a short time later on an alternate flight.[37][38]
  • On 21 March 1981 a Caribbean Airways McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 operating a scheduled service from Barbados to London Gatwick suffered tyreburst on takeoff from GAIA, as a result of hitting an uneven patch on the runway. This caused most overhead lockers to open. Rather than returning to Barbados, the flight deck crew decided to continue to London Gatwick. Due to the flight's early arrival over the UK, ATC instructed the flight deck crew to hold for 25 minutes, following which the aircraft landed safely at Gatwick. There were no injuries among the 340 passengers. According to an airline spokesman, the hot rubber from the burst tyres had caused wiring short-circuits. These in turn had affected some flightdeck instruments.[39]
  • In 2010, during the heightened traffic frequency of the tourist season (November through April), a number of chartered airlines and regularly scheduled carriers reported a series of 'bird strikes' on takeoff. These were not serious enough to cause any damage to the aircraft and they continued on to their destinations. After brief investigations, the 'birds' turned out to be small Vesper bats, native to Barbados.

Concorde Museum[edit]

Concorde 212 on display.

To the east of the main Grantley Adams Airport is the 8,534 m2 (91,860 sq ft) site of the British Airways Concorde Museum on the old Spencers Plantation. The museum is part of the new expanded airport grounds. British Airways had granted the Government of Barbados one of their retired Concorde aircraft and BAC/SNIAS Concorde 212 G-BOAE is now on permanent display in a dedicated hall. The Q2 company had entered a museum and exhibition facility design to the Government of Barbados for this new permanent housing of the aircraft. The 'Concorde Experience' has zones providing information on the aircraft.

On 2 November 1977 G-BOAE was the same aircraft that Queen Elizabeth II traveled flying from GAIA to London Heathrow, England. That occasion was the first visit by Concorde to Barbados.[40]

"Alpha Echo" was the last Concorde to fly supersonic on 17 November 2003, on its delivery flight to Barbados.[41]


  • 2002, 2003, 2004 – The "Caribbean's Leading Airport" – by the World Travel Awards[42]
  • In 2010 Airport Council International (ACI) recognised the airport as one of the best facilities in the region for service excellence. Under the section Caribbean and Latin America, Grantley was ranked as third following: Guayaqui (GYE), Ecuador and Cancun (CUN), Mexico, respectively.[43][44]

See also[edit]


  • Resources for this airport:
1. ^ Accident history for BGI at Aviation Safety Network
2. ^ Airport Information and Live Flight Tracker for TBPB at FlightAware
3. ^ Aeronautical chart for BGI at SkyVector
4. ^ Recent weather observations for TBPB at NOAA/NWS
5. ^ Current weather for TBPB at NOAA/NWS
6. ^ Airport information for TBPB at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
7. ^ Airport information for TBPB/BGI at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).


  1. ^ Weather at the Grantley Adams Airport, WeatherCast UK
  2. ^ Station Information Listing, NOAA
  3. ^ S., D. (4 April 2008). "Brancker: Airport board will enhance tourism". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Airport information for TBPB from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  5. ^ Airport information for BGI at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  6. ^ Photo: Caribbean Airways,
  7. ^ B., J. M. (25 January 2011). "Forecast looking good for passenger growth". The Barbados Advocate. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "Our thrust is to take the number of cruise passengers from 700,000 to 1.2 million per year. A significant percentage of these will be part of the Air/Sea and Stay/Cruise programs. Existing facilities at GAIA are already stressed to handle passenger volumes during the 12 to 4 pm period. The new focus of developing the air/sea program will necessitate a suitable review of the airport plant and no doubt this will be addressed in by the master plan," he said. 
  8. ^ W., J. (21 June 2007). "Tax 'not too much'". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  9. ^ S., E. (30 August 2010). "Winds force take-off change". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "History of Barbados Aviation". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Cole, Angela (2 December 2008). "Local knowledge of HARP". 
  12. ^ Staff writer (26 September 2010). "Ex-airport boss recalls Cubana crash". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  13. ^ C., N. (11 January 2006). "Dame Billie: Why fuss about airport expansion?". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 19 March 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2006. 
  14. ^ a b c S., D. (11 January 2006). "Airport first phase 'ready by April'". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c Selman, Regina (3 February 2006). "Capital works projects on stream for airport". Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006. 
  16. ^ Staff writer (11 May 2007). "New Executive Lounge at Grantley Adams". The Broad Street Journal. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Staff writer (10 July 2007). "VIP lounge opens at GAI". CBC. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2010. President of the Airlines Association of Barbados, John White says the lounge was refurbished at a cost of 1.7 million Barbados dollars and sits on five thousand square feet of space. He says when completed the lounge will cater to 200 passengers flying first and business class. The lounge has internet connection, PCs , fax machines scanners copying machines full range of drinks and snacks for guests. 
  18. ^ Staff writer (2 July 2007). "Airline Association providing new executive lounge at GAIA". Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  19. ^ A., C. (8 December 2010). "Cheaper GAIA". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 9 December 2010. The airport CEO noted the level of transfer passengers through Grantley Adams had risen by 58 per cent. 
  20. ^ Staff writer (8 December 2010). "GAIA Master plan". Barbados Advocate. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Restaurants and Duty Free Shopping at GAIA". Government of Barbados. Retrieved 26 July 2008. 
  22. ^ "GAIA Interactive Map". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  23. ^
  24. ^;_ylt=AwrC0CZ_0kJWGEUAbgrQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--
  25. ^ Airport Council International's 2009 World Airport Traffic Report
  26. ^ Airport Council International's 2011 World Airport Traffic Report
  27. ^ Airport Council International's 2012 World Airport Traffic Report
  28. ^ Airport Council International's 2013 World Airport Traffic Report
  29. ^ Airport Council International's 2014 World Airport Traffic Report
  30. ^ "PERSONNEL LICENSING ADVISORY CIRCULAR BCAD Document PLAC-06." Barbados Civil Aviation Department. 3 of 13. Retrieved on 13 January 2011. "This PLAC can be purchased from the Barbados Civil Aviation Department, Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church, Barbados or downloaded from the BCAD website at<>."
  31. ^ Barbados Meteorological Services, About
  32. ^ "About Us – Company Information on REDjet." REDjet. Retrieved on 13 April 2011. "Its corporate offices are situated in Grantley International Airport in Barbados[...]"
  33. ^ "Adams VOR-DME (BGI)". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  34. ^ "Adams NDB (BGI)". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  35. ^ General Information >Plant and Operations, GAIA Inc.
  36. ^ McKinley Jr., James C. (9 January 2011). "Terror Accusations, but Perjury Charges". New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2011. HOUSTON – An elderly Cuban exile who once worked for the C.I.A. and has been linked to bombings in Havana and the downing of an airliner in the 1970s is scheduled to go on trial this week in a Texas courtroom – not on terrorism charges, but for perjury. 
  37. ^ Singh, Rickey (6 October 2010). "Cubana revisited". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 15 January 2011. THIRTY-FOUR years ago today, terrorists blew up a Cubana passenger aircraft off Barbados, killing all 73 people on board – mostly Cubans, but including 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans – on their way to Havana. 
  38. ^ Staff writer (10 January 2011). "Alleged Cubana terrorist goes on trial". Nation Newspaper (French Press). Retrieved 15 January 2011. Many of the 560 filings in the case so far remain sealed – not available to the public – including items related to Posada's CIA history and his taped interview with author Ann Louise Bardach. The US Justice Department attorneys had asked for the seals. 
  39. ^ "british aerospace - 1981 - 0928 - Flight Archive". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  40. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubillee, Barbados 1977, Parliament and Queen's First Flight on Concorde — Craig Burleigh Photography exceptional images of Concorde G-BOAE, Barbados, Caribbean photos, St. Vincent, Trinidad Carnival.". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  41. ^ "CONCORDE SST: TIMELINE -90's". Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  42. ^ Staff writer (2009). "The Caribbean's Leading Airport 2009". World Travel Awards. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  43. ^ Staff writer (20 March 2010). "Barbados airport best in the Caribbean". Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  44. ^ Staff writer (16 February 2010). "ASQ Top Performers 2009 – Latin America & Caribbean". Airports Council International. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]