Hewanorra International Airport
|Hewanorra International Airport|
|IATA: UVF – ICAO: TLPL
– WMO: 78948
|Operator||Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority|
|Location||Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia|
|Elevation AMSL||14 ft / 4 m|
Hewanorra International Airport (IATA: UVF, ICAO: TLPL), near Vieux Fort Quarter, Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean, is the larger of the country's two airports, the smaller being George F. L. Charles Airport, and is managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). It is located on the southern cape of the island, approx. 53.4 km (33.2 mi), about an hour's car ride from the capital city Castries.
The airport is a Fire Category 9 airport that handles 500,000 passengers a year and has the capability to handle the Boeing 747, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 777 and other similar long range intercontinental aircraft. Aircraft maintenance there is carried out by Caribbean Dispatch Services. George F. L. Charles Airport, formerly known as Vigie Airport, is located in Castries and handles inter-Caribbean scheduled passenger flights which are currently operated with turboprop and prop aircraft from this smaller airfield.
Hewanorra International Airport was originally named Beane Army Airfield and was used as a military airfield by the United States Army Air Forces Sixth Air Force and used in World War II. Beane Field was activated in early 1941 with a mission to defend Saint Lucia against an enemy attack.
The former USAAF base was then refurbished and converted into a commercial airport. There is a disused northeast/southwest runway north of the main east-west runway that was part of the military airfield. It is in poor condition, along with a few dispersals.
A major aspect of the proposed redevelopment has never been in doubt. A new terminal building is still on cards. Such a facility is crucial to the airport's infrastructure to ensure it remains vibrant and efficient gateway to Saint Lucia. The Island's tourism market forecasts that some 800,000 passengers could pass through the airport annually by 2017, a near doubling of today's throughput. The construction of a separate second terminal to complement the existing building would address the disruption issue, but will create obvious difficulties in terms of passenger flow, and an unnecessary doubling up of costs for staff, IT infrastructure, signage and many other system. It is envisaged that Hewanorra's new terminal would be more than twice as large as the current facility, equipped with 6-8 jet bridges and a proposed 13 parking positions including one stand capable of handling the Airbus A380. Currently, Hewanorra has seven parking positions, two for wide-body aircraft, two behind the two wide body aircraft and three for medium-sized aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 757 aircraft.
Airfield to suit
The master plan covers many other aspects of airport operations. The runway will also be widened. At 2,745 metres (9,000 ft), Hewanorra's runway is already long enough to handle all commercial aircraft except the Airbus A380. The 45.72-metre (150.0 ft) width is insufficient to handle the A380, which requires 60.96 m (200.0 ft) from shoulder to shoulder and there would also be a need to extend the runway to at least 3,050 m (10,000 ft). There are also plans to exploit the disused concrete runway to the north of the airfield. It was built by the American military during World War II and could usefully be recommissioned to serve as a taxiway for cargo operations and also for access to hangars. One proposal is to move cargo operations to the north side, putting in all the requisite infrastructure as well as two stands for aircraft up to Boeing 747 freighter size.
Runway and taxiways
The airport has a single East-Westerly runway, connected by two taxiways at the Mid-Section of the runway, with turning bays at the end for back-tracking. As a result of the Earth's tradewinds that blow Northeast across St Lucia, all aircraft usually arrive and depart on runway 10 in an Easterly direction. This results in a typical flight path for arriving aircraft along the west coast of St Lucia, while departing flights usually fly along the east coast of the island. On relatively rare but not uncommon occurrences, weather disturbances such as passing hurricanes or tropical systems may cause planes to take off or land on runway 28 in a Westerly direction.
Airlines and destinations
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Miami
operated by EasySky
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta
Seasonal: New York-JFK
|Grenadine Airways||Saint Vincent|
|JetBlue Airways||New York-JFK
|Mustique Airways||Mustique, Union Island|
|SVG Air||Canouan, Mustique, Union Island|
operated by Sunwing Airlines
|Seasonal: Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson|
|Thomas Cook Airlines||Seasonal: Manchester|
operated by Air Transat
|Seasonal: Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson|
|Air Century||Seasonal: Punta Cana|
|Air Sunshine||San Juan|
|St Barth Commuter||Saint Barthélemy|
|VI Air Link||Beef Island|
|Amerijet International||Barbados, Grenada, Miami, Port of Spain, Saint Vincent|
|DHL Aviation||Port of Spain|
Accidents and incidents
Quebecair flight 714, a Boeing 707 jetliner operating a charter flight from Toronto, caught a wind shear while on approach to Hewanorra international airport on 19 February 1979. The windshear caused the aircraft to halt its descent while already over the threshold. The copilot who was flying at that time retarded the throttles, however at that very moment the aircraft had passed the windshear zone and the nose of the aircraft slammed into the runway and bounced twice, destroying the nose landing gear. There were no fatalities and only minor injuries reported in this incident. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was written off.