Maurice Bishop International Airport
|Maurice Bishop International Airport|
|Operator||Grenada Airports Authority|
|Location||St. George's, Grenada|
|Elevation AMSL||41 ft / 12 m|
Maurice Bishop International Airport (IATA: GND, ICAO: TGPY), formerly known as Point Salines International Airport, is an international airport located in the parish of St. George's. The town of St. George's is about 5 mi (8.0 km) north of the airport and is the capital of the island nation of Grenada. The airport is located on Point Salines, the most southwestern point of the island.
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The unfinished airport was chosen as the jump off point for the invasion of Grenada by the United States in October 1983. The event that precipitated the U.S.-led invasion was not the construction of the airport, but, rather, a violent coup in which Prime Minister Bishop was killed. The American justification for the invasion was the threat to American medical students at St. George's University, whose campus is a short distance from the airport.
More than 500 Rangers from 1st and 2nd Battalions of the United States Army 75th Ranger Regiment conducted a risky daylight low altitude parachute assault onto the airport. Despite resistance from Grenadian armed forces (PRA - People's Revolutionary Army) and armed Cuban construction workers, the Rangers secured all of their objectives on the airfield quickly. The seizure of the airfield allowed United States Air Force C-141 transport planes to land and unload paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division.
The building of the airport — designed to replace the obsolete Pearls Airport on the north side of the island — was cited by U.S. President Ronald Reagan as evidence that the Grenadian government intended to allow it to be used as a way point for Soviet military aircraft en route to Cuba. He buttressed this claim with the evidence that it was being built, in part, by Cuban workers. The contention that the airport had any military function was vehemently denied by Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
Bishop and his government contended that the Point Salines airport was intended to make the island more accessible to European and North American tourists. The long range jets that carried such tourists could not land on the short and geographically difficult runway at the existing airport, Pearls. As a result, tourists bound for Grenada had to put up with the delays, expenses and perceived risks of changing to smaller planes flown by regional carriers. The Grenadian government said they hoped their tourist trade would dramatically increase if direct flights from Europe and North America were possible. The airport itself was designed by a Canadian firm and the construction contracts were awarded to mostly European contractors.
The airport was renamed for the late Prime Minister in 2009.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines serve Grenada:
- Airport information for TGPY at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for GND at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
- "Grenada Outstation." Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved on 23 December 2012.
- "Airline Carriers to Grenada". Government of Grenada. Retrieved 2008-07-26.