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10 Interesting Facts About The Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA)

by Deon Clarke | Associate Writer

Photo Credit: Our National Hero Norman Manley
Photo: National Hero - Norman Washington Manley

I wonder what it takes to get an airport named after you! From what I observe, you have to be a very important person who has made a significant impact on society and the country. There’s so much that goes on at an airport – from feelings of great sadness to see your loved ones go, to sheer happiness and excitement when they return. Of the three main international airports in Jamaica, today we will be looking at the Norman Manley International Airport
  1. The airport was named in honour of Norman Washington Manley, Statesman and first Premier of Jamaica, and one of Jamaica’s national heroes.

  2. The Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) was first known as the Palisadoes Airport.

  3. It is located in Kingston, Jamaica right along the Palisadoes peninsula in outer Kingston Harbour and lies south of the island, about 19 km away from the centre of New Kingston. It fronts the city on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the next.

  4. The NMIA was featured in the first James Bond film “Dr No” in 1962.

  5. The NMIA was established in 1948, the same year that the Kingston Air Traffic Control Centre (KATCC) was established.

  6. On April 10, 1953, Captain Owen Roberts lost an engine shortly after takeoff while piloting a Lockheed Lodestar aircraft from the NMIA (then Palisadoes Airport). He climbed to 100–200 feet entering a slight banking turn and crashed right into the sea. The cracking of the accessory drive gear was determined to be the reason for the failure of the left engine. Unfortunately, 13 persons aboard the aircraft, including the pilot were killed. There was only one known survivor.

  7. On July 17, 1960, on a flight from José Martí International Airport, (Havana to Miami International Airport), the captain of a Vickers Viscount of Cubana de Aviacion aircraft, hijacked the aircraft. It landed at the Palisadoes Airport where the captain claimed political asylum.

  8. On December 22, 2009, American Airlines Flight 331 overshot the runway at the NMIA shortly after 10.00 pm during a heavy rainstorm. This resulted in the Boeing 737-800 breaking up into three pieces when it came to a stop approximately 20 feet from the sea. Fortunately, all the passengers and crew members exited the aircraft unharmed.

  9. It is the second busiest airport in the country after the Sangster International Airport. In 2019, it recorded 1,819,200 arriving passengers.

  10. The Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) owns the Norman Manley International Airport. Additionally, on October 10, 2018, a 25-year concession agreement was signed at the Office of the Prime Minister by the Chairman of the (AAJ) and executive members of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico S.A.B. De C.V. (GAP) as the Government divested the operation of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) this Mexican entity.

So there you have it. I bet you didn’t know so much about the history of the Norman Manley International Airport. Next time you take a flight this route, I’m sure you will remember some of these interesting facts. Bon voyage!

I also recommend you read Places in Jamaica Named After our National Heroes?.


  • Jamaican Airports - History, Facts & Trivia, My-Island-Jamaica,
  •, Airports Authority Jamaica (AAJ),
  • Norman Manley International Airport, Wikipedia,

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