Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport
Isla Grande Airport
Aeropuerto Isla Grande
|Owner||Puerto Rico Ports Authority|
|Serves||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Elevation AMSL||10 ft / 3 m|
Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (IATA: SIG, ICAO: TJIG, FAA LID: SIG), also commonly known as Isla Grande Airport, is a airport in Isla Grande, a district in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is owned by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and is adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the San Juan Bay, and the Pan American Cruise Ship Terminal, and overlooks Cataño. While Isla Grande's main activity is general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, handling domestic and international commercial flights.
Originally constructed by the U.S. Navy as Naval Air Station Isla Grande just prior to World War II, the facility also served as Puerto Rico's main international airport until 1954, when Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport was built. Until that year, international airlines such as Deutsche Luft Hansa, 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 known as – but not 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.
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.
On August 4, 2011 the FAA announced that they were planning to close the airport's control tower due to budget cuts, since they operate it instead of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
On July 8, 2012 airport officials denied via written communication to a local newspaper of "any plans to eliminate or privatize the airport, since the airport is one of the most important airports for general aviation on Puerto Rico, taking into account that its operation approximates around 300 daily operations." On that same newspaper it was published that Seaborne Airlines would transition its operations to the neighboring Luis Muñoz Marin Intl Airport with complete pullout on January 16, 2013.
For a short period of time between 2007 and 2009, the airport became the flight hub of Puerto Rico's unofficial flag carrier, Prinair, when that airline briefly returned to operating.
Facilities and aircraft
Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport covers an area of 102 acres (41 ha) at an elevation of 10 feet (3.0 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 9/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 5,539 by 100 feet (1,688 by 30 m).
For the 12-month period ending September 30, 2013, the airport had 116,447 aircraft operations, an average of 319 per day: 92% general aviation, 6% air taxi, and 2% military. At that time there were 232 aircraft based at this airport: 33% single-engine, 37% multi-engine, 1% jet, 24% helicopter, and 6% military.
Airlines and destinations
|Air Flamenco||Culebra, Vieques|
|M&N Aviation||Charter: La Romana, Punta Cana, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, Vieques|
|Vieques Air Link||Culebra, Vieques|
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|1||Culebra, Puerto Rico||Benjamín Rivera Noriega Airport (CPX)||8,350|
|2||Vieques, Puerto Rico||Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS)||8,220|
Puerto Rico Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility
The Puerto Rico National Guard Aviation Support Facility is the only military site on Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport. Its mission is to support the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, 111th Aviation Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company A the 114th Aviation Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company D and the 114th AVN, 1st Battalion, Detachment 1, Company B. The military aircraft at this facility are the UH72 Lakota, the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and the Beechcraft C-12 Huron.
Incidents and accidents
- On April 11, 1952, Pan Am Flight 526A crashed into the sea just after take off due to engine failure, killing 52 out of 69 passengers and crew.
- On December 21, 1991, a United Airlines Boeing 757 flight en route to San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport mistakenly landed at Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport.
- June 7, 1992: An Executive Air (for American Eagle) CASA 212 flying from Dominicci Airport crashed short of the runway in Mayagüez, killing both crew members and all three passengers.
- 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.
- On January 10, 2015, a Robinson R22 collided with the ocean (near Cataño Ferry terminal, San Juan bay) shortly after takeoff due to unknown reasons (as of 9/14/15), killing 1 (student performing a solo flight) and leaving the helicopter damaged beyond repair.
- On July 4, 2017, an aircraft that had taken off Ribas Dominicci Airport crashed nearby at a bay. The crash resulted in four injuries.
- FAA Airport Master Record for SIG ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
- Airport information for Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport at Great Circle Mapper.
- "Isla Grande Airport". Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Puerto Rico Grand Prix Releases Circuit Map". The Auto Channel. July 25, 2003. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- Paese, Gabrielle (October 31, 2003). "Wally Castro Scores Upset Victory At P.R. Grand Prix". Puerto Rico Herald. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- "Historic Puerto Rico GA Airport Saved! Isla Grande Economic Analysis Sways Politicos". Aero-News Network. July 18, 2006.
- "Niegan el cierre del Aeropuerto de Isla Grande Archived July 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Vocero de Puerto Rico July 8, 2012.
- "San Juan, PR: Isla Grande (SIG)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation. February 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
- OpenStreetMap - Isla Grande Airport
- SkyVector - Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport
- Official website
- Isla Grande Flying School
- (PDF), effective December 5, 2019
- FAA Terminal Procedures for SIG, effective December 5, 2019
- Resources for this airport: