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Jamaican Airports
History, Facts & Trivia

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Jamaican Airports by Kesha Stewart || September 11 2017

Jamaica, being an island, has two points of entry; air and sea. In the context of a world that is a global village, travel connections are critical for the facilitation of international business as well as leisure travelers. 


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Importantly too Jamaica is an international player in the global tourism market which further highlights the importance of travel connections. Against this background, an international airport is an important international gateway.

Responsibility for the airports and aerodromes in existence fall under the direct purview of the Ministry of Transport and Mining with ministerial responsibility resting upon Hon. Michael Henry MP.

The core functions are executed by the regulators, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The airports are owned by the Airports Authority of Jamaica.

For many years the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) at Palisadoes, Kingston and the Donald Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, St. James have been the two main international airports.

Then on May 7, 2010 Jamaicans woke up to the news of the first landing of an international airplane at the newest international airport in Jamaica; the Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA) in Boscobel St. Mary. This airport was named in memory of Ian Flemming the writer of the James Bond Spy novels. 

The SIA is operated under a concession arrangement through MBJ Airports limited since 2003 while the NMIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AAJ. Presently there are efforts underway to privatize the NMIA was built in 1940/41 but has since been modernized.

From my experience with the airport staff in Jamaica they are very professional in their approach. They also display a high level of efficiency and know how as they execute their duties.

When compared to personal experiences elsewhere. One of the best features of the airport is the kiosks. Arriving passengers can actually help to speed up the processes at the immigration area by entering the requested information and obtaining a printout to hand to the officer, this really saves time.

These factors help to take out some of the hassle and frustration usually accompanied with airport travel.

Did You Know That...

  • The first flight into Jamaica did not take place at an airport? Nope. The Pan American 
  • Consolidated Commodore flying boat landed in Kingston Harbour on December 3, 1930. And 
  • FYI it brought cargo not passengers.
  • In 1948 our Airports began operation in Jamaica since then there have been no loss of life. This speaks volumes for our track record in the safety department. Our airports are extremely safe.
  • In 1962 The NMIA was featured in the first James Bond film “Dr. No”.
  • The NMIA was first named the Palisadoes Airport. 
  • SIA accounts for far more travelers than the NMIA
  • Of the approximately 1.7 million annual visitors to Jamaica, 72% use SIA as their primary airport.
  • Peak arriving and departing capacity is 4,200 passengers per hour.
  • Each airport’s approach and exit actually starts in the sea. 

Could you name some of the main carriers at our airports? Hmmm?

Major carriers include Virgin Atlantic, Caribbean Airlines, Delta, Southwest and Jet Blue

Just arrived? If you have not made arrangements with a tour company, you may check with one of the car rental companies on site to get your own set of temporary wheels to see the island. Otherwise you can make a booking with the popular Knutsford Express coach service.

Leaving the island? Hey suppose you missed a few items on your shopping trip around the island, what would you get do? Don’t worry. You can get it at the airport for sure. There are souvenir shops, liquor stores, restaurants, even perfume and jewelry shops right there at the airport.

You can also use the cambio to convert your money to local/other major currencies. 

Make Jamaica your next travel destination. Our airports are safe and reliable and well connected to the rest of the world.

Pages Related To Jamaican Airports

Return to Getting To Jamaica from Jamaican Airports
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A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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