Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport
nativename = Isla Grande Airport "Aeropuerto Isla Grande"


IATA = SIG
ICAO = TJIG
FAA = SIG
type = Public
owner = Puerto Rico Ports Authority
operator =
city-served =
location = San Juan, Puerto Rico
elevation-f = 10
elevation-m = 3
website =
r1-number = 9/27
r1-length-f = 5,317
r1-length-m = 1,621
r1-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 1998
stat1-header = Aircraft operations
stat1-data = 72,700
stat2-header = Based aircraft
stat2-data = 299
footnotes = Source: Federal Aviation AdministrationFAA-airport|ID=SIG|use=PU|own=PU|site=53180.*A, retrieved 2007-03-15]

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport airport codes|SIG|TJIG|SIG, also commonly known as Isla Grande Airport, is a small airport in San Juan, about 5 minutes by air and 15 minutes by car from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. It is adjacent to the new Puerto Rico Convention Center, the San Juan bay, and the Pan American Cruise Ship Terminal, and overlooks Cataño.

While Isla Grande's main operation is with general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, dealing with some domestic commercial flights.

History

Isla Grande was Puerto Rico's main international airport until 1954, when Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport was built. Until that year, international airlines such as Lufthansa, Iberia Airlines, Pan Am and other majors flew to Isla Grande. However, since Isla Grande airport was not built to accept jets, all international airlines then moved their operations in Puerto Rico to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, then named "Isla Verde International Airport".

Isla Grande was renamed in honor of United States Air Force Major Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an F-111 pilot who was killed in action during Operation El Dorado Canyon; the 1986 airstrike of Libya.

A controversy regarding Isla Grande and Dorado Airport surfaced in 2003. Dorado Airport wanted to expand and attract the private aviation sector that has been Isla Grande's main business for so long. Dorado airport eventually became a victim of urban development in Dorado and no longer exists.

On October 26, 2003, the airport made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican site of a SCCA Grand Prix race.

In 2006, after a detailed impact study and many rumors about the future of the airport, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority announced that Isla Grande airport would remain open for the foreseeable future, mostly because of its key function as the primary reliever for the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

Incidents

On December 21, 1994, a United Airlines Boeing 757 flight enroute to San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport mistakenly landed at Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport.

In December 2002, a helicopter that had been rented from a company that operates out of this airport was hijacked and taken to a jail in Ponce, where six inmates boarded the helicopter, forcing the pilot to drop them off at a farm. The pilot was able to fly back after he lied to the prisoners about their whereabouts, making them jump off the helicopter and zig-zagging the helicopter to prevent them from shooting at him. Soon after, all escapees were found by the police.

Facilities

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport covers an area of 102 acres (41 ha) which contains one runway:
* Runway 9/27: 5,317 x 100 ft (1,621 x 30 m), Surface: Asphalt

Airlines

* Aeromed
* Air Flamenco (Culebra, Vieques, Virgin Islands)
* M&N Aviation (Vieques, La Romana, Punta Cana, Santiago, Santo Domingo)
* Roblex Aviation
* Seaborne Airlines (St. Croix, St. Thomas)
* SJ Jets
* Vieques Air Link

References

External links

* [http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?contentBlockId=6dc889af-bb34-43bf-80dd-75f0408c4018 Article on Puerto Rican government's decision to keep Isla Grande Airport open]
* [http://www.islagrandeflying.com/ Isla Grande Flying School]

*FAA-diagram|01019
*US-airport2|SIG|TJIG


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