Sangster International Airport

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Sangster International Airport
Sangster Airport.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator MBJ Airports Ltd.
Serves Montego Bay, Jamaica
Elevation AMSL 4 ft / 1 m
Coordinates 18°30′13″N 77°54′48″W / 18.50361°N 77.91333°W / 18.50361; -77.91333Coordinates: 18°30′13″N 77°54′48″W / 18.50361°N 77.91333°W / 18.50361; -77.91333
MKJS is located in Jamaica
Location in Jamaica
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 2,653 8,704 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 3,633,998
Aircraft operations 40,764
Source: Sangster International Airport[1]

Sangster International Airport (IATA: MBJICAO: MKJS) is an international airport located 3 mi (4.8 km) east of Montego Bay, Jamaica.[1] The airport is capable of handling nine million passengers per year. It serves as the most popular airport for tourists visiting the north coast of Jamaica. MBJ is currently the busiest of Jamaica's three international airports, the others being the Norman Manley International Airport located in the capital city of Kingston and the Ian Fleming International Airport located in Boscobel. The airport is named after former Jamaican Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster.

Sangster is run by a consortium called MBJ Airports Limited. Leading partner of the consortium is Abertis.[2] Another partner is Vancouver Airport Services (2% stake)[3] Sangster was privatised and turned over by Airports Authority of Jamaica to the consortium in 2003.[4]


Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, was first conceived in 1936 when the site now housing the Sangster International Airport was identified as one suitable for the construction of an airport in the town of Montego Bay. Originally named the Montego Bay Airport, a decision was made to build the runway in 1940, and the actual construction of the facility was completed on 18 February 1947. At the time of its completion, the town of Montego Bay was more like a playground for the rich and famous, and was considered then, one of the premier vacation spots within the Caribbean, just as it is today.

The first international airline to fly into the Montego Bay Airport was Pan American Airways, and the airport, which in comparison to today's standards, was more like a small aerodrome, was operated by Pan American until 30 September 1949, when the Jamaican government took control of the facility. However, the Sangster International Airport, as known today, is nothing like it was in the early days. One of the most noticeable differences was that initially, the terminal building was on the northern side of the runway but was shifted to the southern side of the runway during one of the several upgrading exercises that took place at that facility, which was necessitated by the growth in air traffic over the years. Plans for the construction of a new terminal at its present location, on the southern side of the runway, were announced in July 1955. the plans for the new terminal building was part of what turned out to be a continued upgrading and restructuring of the facility, to enable it to cope with the growth in traffic. The original terminal was built and opened on 7 July 1959, with a capacity to accommodate 500 passengers per hour, and parking for seven aircraft at a time.

Over the years, the upgrading process was a continuous one, ultimately the facility had grown into the larger of the two international airports in Jamaica, handling approximately 3.7 million passengers per annum in 2007, and had seen an increase in passenger and aircraft movement in 2009. The management and partners of the airport have been trying to seek with passengers from Asia, but the project stalled in 2010. and the airport is also trying receive more non-stop service from Brazil, but it has also been stopped, this time in 2013.

Since January 2001, plans have been executed to expand the airport to the status of a world-class airport. The new eastern concourse of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) (the result of phases 1A and 1B) was officially opened in December 2005. Phase two was then due to begin towards the end of 2006; however because the economic conditions were favourable and the tourist trade in Jamaica is increasing, phase two was brought forward to January 2006. MBJ still faces some challenges such as the restructuring of Air Jamaica.

A planned expansion of the main runway was in a preparation phase but due to the poor economic conditions,the runway expansion project was stopped in 2012 indefinitely. This expansion would have afforded the airport a fully functioning 10,000-foot (3,000 m) runway to accommodate large aircraft traffic. MBJ Airports Limited also commissioned a new customs hall, arrivals lobby and transportation center in March 2007. Since then, further expansion and renovation projects such as the relocation of the immigrations hall and duty-free mall have been launched and was completed in September 2008. this facility is be one of the Caribbean's most modern airports, and has increased the handling capacity to nine million passengers per annum. Plans are also in place for the relocation of the tower, domestic terminal and others.

In 2006, there was a change in management at the airport following the change in the consortium that operates this facility. Relations between the new management and unions have been difficult, with a strike in November 2007 and in November 2009.

The airport is the busiest airport in the English-speaking Caribbean.[citation needed] It has won the World Travel Awards "Caribbean's Leading Airport" for the years 2005, and 2009 to 2015.

In December 2013, the airport had received the honor of being the first English-Speaking Caribbean country to be served by flights with a Boeing 787 aircraft by Thomson Airways from London, England In January 2014.[5]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Apron view


The Sangster International Airport has two terminals. One is for international flights (F) and the other for domestic travel (C). The terminals currently serve the following airlines:

Airlines Destinations
Air Berlin Seasonal: Düsseldorf, Munich
Air Canada Montréal-Trudeau
Seasonal: Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg
Air Canada Rouge Toronto-Pearson
Air Transat Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Ottawa, Québec City, Regina, Saskatoon
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Boston, Los Angeles (begins 19 December 2015)[6]
Avianca Charter: Bogota, Medellin
Blue Panorama Airlines Milan-Malpensa
Caribbean Airlines Fort Lauderdale, Kingston-Norman Manley, Nassau, New York-JFK
Cayman Airways Grand Cayman
Condor Frankfurt, Munich
Copa Airlines Panama City
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, New York-JFK
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Atlanta
Frontier Airlines Seasonal: Philadelphia,[7] St. Louis
International AirLink Negril
Jetairfly Brussels
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK, Orlando
Neos Seasonal charter: Milan-Malpensa
Satena Colombia Charter: Bogotá
Skylan Airways Kingston-Norman Manley
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Houston–Hobby,[8] Orlando
Seasonal: Milwaukee
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sunrise Airways Port-Au-Prince
Sunwing Airlines Calgary, Cincinnati, Edmonton, Moncton, Montréal-Trudeau, Nashville, Ottawa, Québec City, St. John's, Toronto-Pearson, Winnipeg
Thomas Cook Airlines Manchester (UK)
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Oslo-Gardermoen (begins 29 November 2015)
Thomson Airways Birmingham (UK), Glasgow-International, London-Gatwick
Seasonal: Cardiff (begins 22 December 2015),[9] Copenhagen, Manchester (UK), Newcastle
Seasonal charter: Dublin (begins 12 June 2016)[10]
TUI Airlines Netherlands Amsterdam
TUIfly Nordic
operated by Thomson Airways
Seasonal charter: Helsinki (begins 21 December 2015)
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles
Virgin Atlantic London-Gatwick
WestJet Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Winnipeg
White Airways Seasonal charter: Lisbon1
XL Airways France Seasonal charter: Paris-Charles de Gaulle

^1 White Airways flights from Lisbon to Montego Bay make a stop at Samaná. However, the airline does not have rights to carry passengers solely between Montego Bay and Samaná.


Airlines Destinations
Airpak Express Kingston-Tinson Pen, Boscobel, Negril
FedEx Express Kingston-Norman Manley
IBC Airways Miami
Sunrise Airways Port-Au-Prince
Tara Courier Kingston-Tinson Pen, Boscobel, Negril

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 21 January 1960, Avianca Flight 671, a Lockheed L-1049E, crashed and burned on landing, killing 37 aboard.[11]
  • On 19 April 2009, CanJet Flight 918, a Boeing 737-800, was hijacked. The hijacker, armed with a semi-automatic pistol is reported as having asked to be taken to Cuba.[12] However, the security personnel eventually regained control of the aircraft without anyone being injured.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Sangster International Airport at Wikimedia Commons