Pearls Airport

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Pearls Airport
Summary
Airport typePublic
OperatorGrenada Airports Authority
LocationGrenville, Grenada
Coordinates12°08′37″N 061°37′00″W / 12.14361°N 61.61667°W / 12.14361; -61.61667Coordinates: 12°08′37″N 061°37′00″W / 12.14361°N 61.61667°W / 12.14361; -61.61667
Map
TGPG is located in Grenada
TGPG
TGPG
Location in Grenada
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
na/ 1,570 5,151 n/a

Pearls Airport (ICAO: TGPG[1]) was an airport in Grenada, located at the North Eastern Corner of the island, 19 miles (31 km) north-east of the main town and capital St. George's (12 degrees 09 minutes North, 61 degrees 37 minutes West) with a runway set at a direction 082 degrees/262 degrees and 5,200 feet (1,600 m) long.[2]

It was the country's first airport, opened in 1943 and was under the management of the Grenada Airports Authority. Pan American Airways did not operate in the Windward Islands, because of an excluding agreement made by the British Government to protect British West Indian Airways. This meant the airport was not in daily operation.[3]

Pearls was used by the Allies for military aircraft during World War II. After the war, the airport reverted to civilian operation and the runway was extended and paved to its final length. The airport's principal commercial carrier was Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT), which linked Grenada to nearby islands with its 48-passenger turboprop aircraft. The airport's surrounding hills and its distance from the capital city of St. George's made it unsuitable for further improvements.[4]

On 25 October 1983, Marines from the 8th Marine Regiment landed nearby by helicopter and "captured" Pearls Airport during the United States invasion of Grenada, meeting only light resistance.[5] The airport then consisted of a cinder block terminal/operations building and a fuel storage facility. The Marines seized two parked aircraft. One was an AN-26 Cubana Airlines turboprop which had arrived the day before from Havana with two high-level Cuban officials. The other was an AN-2R biplane, a gift to Grenada from the Soviet Union, ostensibly for agricultural spray use. During the ensuing period of hostilities, the Marines used the airfield as a base for offensive operations to complete subjugation of the eastern side of island. The principal American base was at Point Salines where a 9,000-foot runway and new terminal was nearing completion.

Pearls Airport, captured by Marines during the invasion of Grenada and temporarily renamed Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Douglas.

In 1984, Pearls was replaced as Grenada's main airport by the Point Salines International Airport, now called Maurice Bishop International Airport. Pearls is now a construction site and used a drag racing strip. Both wrecks of the AN-26 and AN-2R sit by the former terminal.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Airport information for TGPG at Great Circle Mapper.
  2. ^ Anuario Comercial de Las Antillas Y Países Del Caribe, Thomas Skinner Directories Caribook Limited, 1965
  3. ^ "Maurice Bishop International Airport - About Us". Archived from the original on March 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Thorndike, Tony (1985). Grenada : politics, economics, and society. Boulder, Colo.: L. Rienner Publishers. p. 125. ISBN 0-931477-09-3. OCLC 11623393.
  5. ^ Kukielski, Philip (2019). The U.S. Invasion of Grenada : legacy of a flawed victory. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co. pp. 41, 140, 148, 164. ISBN 978-1-4766-7879-5. OCLC 1123182247.
  6. ^ "Aviation Photo #1003856: Antonov (PZL-Mielec) An-2R - Untitled". Airliners.net.
  7. ^ "Aviation Photo #1003909: Antonov An-26 - Untitled". Airliners.net.