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V. C. Bird International Airport
is located on the island of Antigua
Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...
, 8 km (5 mi) northeast of St. John's
St John's is the capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, a country located in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. St John's is located at...
, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...
The airport originally was operated by the United States Army Air Force. It closed in 1949 as Coolidge Air Force Base
Coolidge Air Force Base was a United States Air Force base on the island of Antigua that operated from 1941-1948. It later reopened as Coolidge International Airport and is now known as V. C. Bird International Airport...
and upon the closure it became a civil
Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization and work together to establish common standards and recommended practices...
airport. It was known as Coolidge International Airport
until 1985, when it was named in honor of Sir Vere Cornwall Bird
Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr. was the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. His son, Lester Bryant Bird, succeeded him as Prime Minister. In 1994 he was declared a national hero....
(1910–1999), the first prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
In December 2005, the Antigua and Barbuda Millennium Airport Corporation announced it would invite tenders to construct the first phase of a new passenger terminal designed to serve the airport for 30 years.
Airlines and destinations
- On 17 September 1965, Pan Am Flight 292
Pan Am Flight 292 was a Boeing 707-120B that flew into Chances Peak on the island of Montserrat on 17 September 1965 while on a flight from Fort-de-France - Le Lamentin Airport in Martinique to Coolidge International Airport in Antigua and Barbuda...
, a Boeing 707-121B en route from Fort de France, Martinique, to St. John's struck Chances Peak
Chances Peak is the culminant point of the active complex stratovolcano named Soufrière Hills. It is the highest point in Montserrat, a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean Sea....
Montserrat is a British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. This island measures approximately long and wide, giving of coastline...
, an island to the southwest of Antigua, killing all 30 aboard. The pilot mistakenly believed he was descending into Antigua. As a result, a VHF omnirange (VOR) transmitter was installed at the St. John's airport.
- On May 10, 2004, a LIAT de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311 flight made an emergency landing after one of its wheels fell off shortly after takeoff. The flight operated by the Antigua-based airline had departed from St. Maarten en route to St. Kitts when one of its wheels reportedly fell off. The Dash 8-311 turboprop was diverted to Antigua and was able to land safely on its three remaining wheels, without causing damage to the aircraft. None of the 24 passengers and three crew members were injured. The airline has launched an investigation into the incident.
- On November 12, 2008, a LIAT de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311 circled around V. C. Bird International Airport in Antigua following reports of landing gear malfunction. The de Haviland Dash 8 -311 aircraft should have landed at the Robert Bradshaw International Airport in St Kitts, but was diverted to Antigua because of the problem. It turned out that the landing gear was in order, but the indicators in the cockpit gave a reading that there was a fault. Firefighters, medical personnel and police were on alert but, after clearance, the aircraft landed safely with its 42 passengers and three crew members.
- On 18 June 2009, a Rhoades cargo plane #2 engine caught fire while taxiing to the runway. The incident forced the temporary closure of the airport and delay of several aircraft. LIAT planes had to hold before they could land or take off, but there were no flight cancellations. There were two persons on board the Rhoades plane, the captain and first officer, both of whom were unhurt. The aircraft taxied on its own engines back to runway 10 where it underwent inspections and necessary repairs.
- V.C. Bird International Airport: Master Plan Report (PDF
Portable Document Format is an open standard for document exchange. This file format, created by Adobe Systems in 1993, is used for representing documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems....
, 3.6 mb)