Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport

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Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport
Airport type Public
Operator BVIAA
Serves British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
Location Beef Island
Focus city for InterCaribbean Airways
Elevation AMSL 16 ft / 5 m
Coordinates 18°26′44″N 064°32′35″W / 18.44556°N 64.54306°W / 18.44556; -64.54306Coordinates: 18°26′44″N 064°32′35″W / 18.44556°N 64.54306°W / 18.44556; -64.54306
EIS is located in British Virgin Islands
Location in the British Virgin Islands
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 1,415 4,642 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[1]

Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (IATA: EISICAO: TUPJ), previously known as Beef Island Airport, is the main airport serving the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. The airport serves as the gateway to just about all of the islands within the BVI. The airport is also a gateway for inter-Caribbean travelers headed to the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands. Many travellers fly into Beef Island, with the intention of taking a ferry to the other smaller British Virgin Islands. The airport is located on Beef Island, a small island off the main island of Tortola, to which it is connected by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.


The Terrance B. Lettsome airport underwent a major $55 million renovation in 2004. After dredging was completed the runway was expanded to allow larger planes to operate into the airfield. This renovation was the largest capital project ever undertaken in the territory at that time. However, the airport currently does not receive any scheduled airline passenger jet service. The largest aircraft serving Tortola is the 64 passenger seat ATR-72 turboprop aircraft operated by Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT). Recently, Seaborne Airlines began operating Saab 340 turboprop aircraft into the airport.

Some of the highlights of the renovation and expansion project include:

  • A new 46,000 sq ft (4,300 m2) terminal building
  • An enlarged flight apron
  • A new control tower
  • 3,700 ft (1,128 m) runway extension
  • New airport road with expanded parking (150 parking stalls)

There is a $20 departure tax for anyone over the age of five years.

The airport houses the BVI Outstation of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority.[2]


In 2016 the Government announced an expansion of the airport to increase the runway size by 2,504 feet.[3][4] This followed years of speculation and proposals; discussions about expansion and how to finance it were being undertaken in 2014.[5][6] Although initial reports indicated that the United Kingdom had approved the necessary financial borrowing,[7] later reports suggested that the UK's consent had been withheld in connection with concerns about the financial viability of the project.[8] Under agreed financial protocols, external borrowing by the BVI Government needs to be approved by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

On 27 December 2016 the Government announced that the tender to expand the airport had been won by China Communications Construction Company.[9] The Premier, Orlando Smith, said "Negotiations will now get underway with the preferred bidder with a view to concluding a contractual agreement within three months, which delivers the right outcome for the people of this territory."[9] According to Government, the runway will be extended from 4,645 feet to approximately 7,100 feet, and will thereby allow airline fleets including Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320 aircraft to fly directly to and from the continental United States and Latin America.

However in June 2017 the Government appeared to confirm that the proposed expansion would not be going forward.[10]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Air Sunshine Dominica - Douglas-Charles, Nevis, San Juan, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas, Sint Maarten
Cape Air San Juan
Seasonal: Saint Thomas
BVI Airways Miami (Begins November, 2017)[11]
InterCaribbean Airways Antigua, Dominica - Douglas-Charles, Providenciales, Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, San Juan, Santo Domingo - Las Americas, Sint Maarten
LIAT Antigua, Barbados, Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts
Seaborne Airlines San Juan
Sky High Aviation Services Santiago de Los Caballeros, Santo Domingo - Las Americas
Trans Anguilla Airways Anguilla, Virgin Gorda
VI Airlink Antigua
Winair Sint Maarten

Historically, in 1986 the airport had scheduled passenger jet service operated by British Caribbean Airways,[12][13] with direct flights to Miami. British Caribbean operated a British Aerospace BAe 146-100 jetliner. This was the only time that Tortola had airline jet service.

The return of Miami flights[edit]

Thirty years after the short-lived British Caribbean Airways offered jet service to Miami using British Aerospace BAe 146-100 aircraft, Tortola based BVI Airways will soon start Miami service using BAe 146-100 airliners. Unlike British Caribbean Airways, BVI Airways will have no intermediate stops for fuel. One of their planes arrived at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.[14] It has originally been announced that the flights would start by Thanksgiving of 2016,[15] but repeated delays have pushed the launch date back.[16] On December 20, 2016, BVI Airways acquired its second jet.[17] As of May 3, 2017, BVI Airways got approval from the Department Of Transportation (D.O.T)[18] to start Miami flights, however service won't start to Miami as the airline still needs approval from the FAA and the US Transportation Security Administration.[19] Additionally, BVI Airways has been granted two more cities to serve, Orlando and New York.[20] . In a sad and unfortunate twist, the airline ran out of funds and had to lay off its entire crew[21] However, on July 18th, 2017 Premier Orlando Smith announced direct flights from Tortola to Miami on BVI Airways would start in November, saying, "I expect to see schedule flights – direct flights to and from the United States mainland, between the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport and the Miami International Airport – before Thanksgiving of this year."[22]


Airlines Destinations
Air Sunshine San Juan, Saint Thomas, St. Croix
Fly BVI Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Saint Thomas, San Juan, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica-Melville Hall, Providenciales, Grenada, Nevis, Punta Cana, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia-Hewanorra, Saint Lucia-Vigie, Saint Vincent, Dominica-Canefield
Island Birds San Juan, Saint Thomas, St. Croix, Sint Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Barbuda, Dominica-Canefield
VI Air Link Anegada, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Canouan, Curaçao, Dominica-Melville Hall, Fort-de-France, Grand Turk, Grenada, Kingston, La Romana, Montego Bay, Nassau, Nevis, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia-Hewanorra, Saint Lucia-Vigie, Saint Vincent, San Juan, Santo Domingo-Las Américas, Sint Maarten, Dominica-Canefield


Airline Destinations
Air Cargo Carriers San Juan
Air Sunshine Anguilla, Dominica, Nevis, St. Thomas, San Juan
DHL Aviation St. Barthelemy
FedEx Feeder
operated by Mountain Air Cargo
San Juan

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 5 April 1971, Douglas C-47A N57372 of Vinair was damaged beyond economic repair in a landing accident at Beef Island Airport. The aircraft was operating an international cargo flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico.[23]
  • On 6 May 1993, a Short 330 turboprop operated by Atlantic Air BVI overran the runway and landed in the sea after aborting on takeoff. It was a passenger flight, and all passengers and crew survived. The airframe was damaged beyond economic repair, and was sunk as a scuba diving site off Great Dog Island.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Airport information for Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  2. ^ "BVI Outstation." Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved on 23 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Airport Development Project To Be A "Game Changer"". GIS. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Gov't picks model, to continue operate airport". BVI News. 26 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Projected Cost Of Airport Expansion Not Coming Down - Legislator". Platinum News. 13 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "PEP & VIP Oppose Airport Expansion Project". The Island Sun. 1 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "UK agrees to 'affordable' airport project in BVI". BVI News. 21 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "UK raised concern about airport traffic, other plans". BVI News. 9 August 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Chinese company selected for airport project". BVI News. 27 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Airport Project Killed?". BVI Platinum. 13 June 2017. 
  11. ^ http://bvinews.com/new/premier-smith-n-flights/
  12. ^ http://www.airliners.net/photo/British-Caribbean-Airways/British-Aerospace-BAe-146-100/1768255/&sid=287757bb253dde712d9fd3e54523b9bb
  13. ^ http://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/Airlines-Caribbean/Airlines-Caribbean-AZ/British-Caribbean-Airways/
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWJZ0C5r_I BVI AIRWAYS FIRST JET TO ARRIVE IN VI
  15. ^ "Premier lauds new airline deal; Miami flight on course". BVI News. 18 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "No Approval As Yet From ASSI To Fly". BVI Platinum. 19 December 2016. 
  17. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXl3YtIt4FE JTV NEWS UPDATE 20 DECEMBER 2016 BVI AIRWAYS GET SECOND PLANE PETA GAY COOMBS
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoRrFI3zNmc
  19. ^ https://www.caribbean360.com/travel/bvi-airways-gets-approval-begin-us-flights-service-wont-start-just-yet
  20. ^ http://bvinews.com/new/bvi-airways-gets-more-routes-new-york-orlando/ BVI Airways gets more routes – New York, Orlando
  21. ^ https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/57948-bvi-airways-out-of-cash-lays-off-all-staff.
  22. ^ http://bvinews.com/new/premier-smith-n-flights/
  23. ^ "N57372 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  24. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 

External links[edit]