Canouan Airport (IATA: CIW, ICAO: TVSC) is the airport located on the island of Canouan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.[2] The airport serves the surrounding tourist areas and environs of the Grenadines and is a major destination during the Caribbean winter leisure season. Aside from facilitating regular passenger flights, the airport is also open for international corporate jet operations and charter flights. Canouan Airport was the main business aviation airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before the opening of Argyle International Airport. The terminal has a CIP (Commercially Important People) lounge and other facilities for international passengers and a domestic hub for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the second largest airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after Argyle International Airport. The airport often served as the alternate airport for E.T. Joshua Airport, now a decommissioned airport in St. Vincent and other Grenadines airports.

Canouan Airport
Canouan Airport - panoramio.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
OpenedMay 11, 2008 (2008-05-11)[1]
Hub forSVG Air
Time zoneAST (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m
Coordinates12°41′57″N 061°20′33″W / 12.69917°N 61.34250°W / 12.69917; -61.34250Coordinates: 12°41′57″N 061°20′33″W / 12.69917°N 61.34250°W / 12.69917; -61.34250
TVSC is located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Location in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 5,875 1,791 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[2][3]

Since the longest runway in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, at 5,875 feet (1,791 m), was located at Canouan Airport, it was the airport used to receive illegal immigrants deported from the United States[4] by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Air Operations-detainee removal flights, prior to the opening of AIA.

The airport is built in traditional Grenadines style with an open-air terminal with roof covered in cane palm fronds, its wooden walls and columns made of eucalyptus logs. The terminal architecture is based on the Native indigenous people of the Caribbean Tainos and Arawak structures, giving passengers a paradise feeling. The terminal has no airbridges, walk-boarding is used on all stands and mobile stairways or the aircraft's own airstairs are used for embarking and disembarking passengers.

In the 2000s, an extensive modernization of the airport began. A land reclamation project and runway extension were completed at the end of March 2008. Overall runway length increased from 3,455 to 5,875 ft (1,053 to 1,791 m).[5] This extension of the runway makes the airport accessible by a larger number of aircraft and can now accommodate jets such as the Boeing B737 and Airbus A320 carrying over one hundred and twenty passengers from Europe, North and South America. Before the runway extension, the ATR 72 of American Eagle (Executive Airlines) was the largest aircraft to serve the airport. In 2010 American Eagle ended daily flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Canouan.[6] In addition to the runway extension, the control tower was raised some 3 m (10 ft) and the arrivals terminal was also extended to accommodate the increasing aviation services and visitors to the island. Airport apron expansion and the further development of air navigational systems were completed in 2011. It is one of only two airports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines large enough to handle large airliners. This airport was developed to meet international standards.

Canouan Airport is a small but bustling one that plays an important role in the growing economy of Canouan. Luxury tourism and real-estate contribute significantly to the island's economy and Canouan is popular with private jet travelers around the world. It is the home of some smaller general aviation businesses, including Canouan Aviation Services which operates from the general aviation area on the south-western side of the runway. Connection is maintained from the airport for several smaller airports in the Grenadines. Its size and location makes it the most important airport in the Grenadines.

It is one of five airports in the multi-island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the others being Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent, J. F. Mitchell Airport in Bequia, Mustique Airport and Union Island Airport.

SVG Air, is a national airline of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Mustique Airways. SVG Air and Mustique Airways have combined to form a SVG Air / Grenadine Air Alliance, operating 17 Aircraft, with bases in St. Vincent, Antigua and Grenada.[7] Offering visitors and residents a wider choice of International Gateways in and out of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.


Plane Landing at Canouan
Canouan Airport's first terminal building in 1988, when the runway at the airport was an unpaved, sand and gravel airstrip.

The history of the Airport extends back to the early 1980s, when the runway at the airport was an unpaved, sand and gravel airstrip. The current airport opened in May 2008 and replaced the earlier Canouan airport with the same name and IATA code. Canouan airport was initially constructed some 20 years ago to a standard of an earth runway strip. In 1987/88 the airport was upgraded by construction of a bituminous surface dressing with a length of 1,800 ft (548 m) and a width of 60 ft (18 m).

In the following years serious deterioration caused a reduction of aircraft movements from 8,000 in 1988 to 2,000 in 1991. Since the bulk of passenger transport to and from the island is channeled through the airport, the unsatisfactory conditions on the runway and in the terminal jeopardized the economic development of Canouan. In the early 90s programs have been launched to attract tourism and to improve the island's facilities. It goes without saying that the rehabilitation and upgrading of the island's airport is an investment of first priority to the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the future welfare of Canouan and the neighboring islands in the southern part of the country.

Based on the positive development of tourism, it was recognized in 2003 that upgrading of the runways for jet operations was essential. It was determined that land had to be reclaimed and the runway extended. In a first phase KOCKS CONSULT GMBH provided services for:

  • Comprehensive field investigation and laboratory testing to determine existing pavement and subsoil condition.
  • Inventories of the ecological situation.
  • Topographical survey
  • Collection of data and information on previous and present air traffic.
  • Determination of a reference aircraft.
  • Determination of the essential length of runways.
  • Environmental assessment study.
  • Study on economic feasibility.
  • An estimation of costs.

All data and findings were compiled in the "Assessment of Principal Solutions" report. The new airport comprises an asphalt concrete runway of 1,790 m x 30 m with lighting and Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), a taxiway and apron as well as a terminal, fire station and service buildings.[8]

In 2011, Sewells Paving completed the paving of an eight and a half acre addition to the Canouan International Airport. The expansion to the airport apron was for additional airplane parking. The apron was built and paved to stand the load of a Boeing B737 jet.[9]

In January 2019, the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines invited tenders for consulting services. The objective of the consulting services is to prepare a climate risk and vulnerability assessment, feasibility studies, preliminary and detailed designs, cost estimates and tender documents for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the runway and other pavements at Canouan Airport, together with drainage, fencing and any other infrastructural, institutional or other improvements required to ensure the sustainable operation of Canouan Airport.[10]

Canouan Island has positioned itself at the epicenter of a new tourism attraction for the entire region and is now a popular private jet destination for those transferring to yachts.


A Panoramic View of Canouan Airport from across the bay

Since Canouan Airport is accessible for virtually all private jets without payload restrictions, it is now the Jetport of the Grenadines. The airport has frequent business aviation, private aviation and charter operations. It is a frequent stopping point for private pilots. During peak season sometimes 18 private jets could be seen on the apron on a given day, some arriving from as far afield as London on direct flights. There is virtually no private jet that can’t land here now. The airport handles turboprop, short-haul regional airliners and narrow-body jet aircraft movements and is equipped with the necessary lights to have night air traffic. Air traffic peaks during the winter season, between November and April.

Canouan Airport is well equipped to handle private jets with minimum departure and arrival delays, while hosting over 123 private jets at the airport in December.[11] The airport is moderately busy with mostly private jet traffic. However, the airport does offer scheduled passenger service. While Canouan Airport’s main activity is general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, handling domestic and international commercial flights. Two locally owned Fixed-base operators based at the Jetport facilities, Canouan Aviation Services and Vincy Aviation Services, supply fuel, hangar space and other services to inbound and outbound passengers and operators.

For those arriving with their own private jet and wishing to stay at the exclusive resorts on Mustique, Palm Island or Petit St. Vincent (PSV), their respective staff will make arrangements for your jet to be accommodated at Canouan Island Airport along with a Twin Otter Aircraft exclusive air taxi transfer or private boat transfer from Canouan to your respective exclusive hideaway.

With the new 120-berth luxury super-yacht Glossy Bay Marina[12] (the island’s Camper and Nicholson marina, owned by Sandy Lane’s Irish billionaire owner, Dermot Desmond), which boundaries with the Canouan Airport; the ultra 5 star luxurious Pink Sands Club[13][14] (formerly the Grenadines Estate Golf Club and previously Raffles Resort with Trump International Golf Club and Casino),[15] championship 18-hole, par 72, Jim Fazio-designed golf course set in 300 acres of a 1,200-acre estate, which forms the focal point of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the island; Tamarind Beach Hotel & Yacht Club and the Grenadines Estate private villas. Pink Sands Club, Canouan, was rebranded Mandarin Oriental, Canouan on July 3, 2018,[16] and they have launched two luxury packages: "Land & Sea in Luxury" and "Jet Away & Play."[17] This is Mandarin Oriental's first Caribbean resort.

This 3.5 square mile island positions itself as “the ultimate luxury destination of the Caribbean.” Canouan was one of the locations of the Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Edition.[18]

Achievements of this magnitude would have been impossible to imagine twenty years ago. As recently as 1960, Canouan Island had zero infrastructures. The population was enduring blatantly impoverished conditions. They did not have a single jetty, airport or road and the only car belonged to the one policeman. There was no power source, clean drinking water, telephones, in-door plumbing, schools or doctor and only a primitive ferry system. Their sole source of income was from the sea.


Canouan air traffic control tower
Leaving Canouan, apron view

Canouan Airport features one single small passenger terminal building with basic facilities such as check-in-facilities as well as some shops and a restaurant and a covered observation deck. The airport terminal has immigration facilities for international flights but no international transfer area.

The airport resides at an elevation of 11 ft (3.4 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 13/31 with an asphalt surface measuring 1,791 m × 30 m (5,876 ft × 98 ft). Only Runway 13 offers PAPI. Runway 31 is usable under visual flight rules only. The runway is on the southwestern end of Canouan and parallels the south shoreline. Approaches and departures are over the water. The length of the main runway dictates that the airport cannot handle large wide-bodied aircraft.

The airport has also just commissioned NDB/DME navigation equipment to complement the runway extension and has equipment to support instrument approaches for all-weather operation and illumination in both directions. Navaids, Meteorological System (AWOS) and Runway Lighting designed and installed by Aeronav. All systems were commissioned in compliance with ICAO and FAA recommendations. A strong crosswind from the northeast sector is common especially between December and March. The airport is in operation at day and night.

Canouan Airport falls under category six (6) of the Aerodrome Category (ICAO Index). The airport has its own fire brigade, equipped with a fire engine suited to the present operations.

Airlines and destinationsEdit

LIAT's Dash 8-300
Grenadine Airways Charter: Barbados, Bequia, Saint Vincent-Argyle, Union Island, Vieux Fort
Mustique Airways Barbados, Bequia, Castries, Mustique, Saint Vincent-Argyle, Union Island
Charter: Grenada, Martinique, Vieux Fort
One Caribbean Charter: Barbados, Bequia, Saint Vincent-Argyle
SVG Air Barbados, Saint Vincent-Argyle, Vieux Fort[20]
Charter: Antigua, Bequia, Grenada, Mustique, Union Island

Notable flightsEdit

In October 2013, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83[22] landed at the airport carrying the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.

Other facilitiesEdit

Incidents and accidentsEdit

  • 19 November 2006 – SVG Air Aero Commander 500S, on a flight from Canouan to Saint Vincent, was over the western end of Bequia on its final approach to Saint Vincent when it vanished. There was no distress call. Wreckage was found in the sea. The pilot and single passenger are presumed dead.[23]
  • 5 August 2010 – SVG Aircraft on a flight from Saint Vincent to Canouan crashed off Canouan with only the pilot on board - not found.[24]
  • 5 March 2011 – Beechcraft 200 Super King Air aircraft operated by Wyngs Aviation landed with a tailwind and overran the runway. The aircraft had a collapsed nose wheel and badly damaged propeller blades. No reports of injuries. The plane was heading to Canouan from Porlamar Airport, Venezuela, when the pilot mistook Union Island for the neighboring island.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New EC 58 million airport opened at Canouan". Searchlight Newspaper. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Airport information for TVSC at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  3. ^ Airport information for CIW at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  4. ^ Deportee from the United States disembarked in Canouan
  5. ^ "Work begins on extension of the Canouan Airport". Searchlight Newspaper. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  6. ^ American Eagle ends flights to Canouan Dominica News Online
  7. ^ Ben Harrison - International Correspondent (17 February 2017). "SVG Air / Grenadine Air Alliance: Bridging the gap". The Vencentian Newspaper.
  8. ^ Rehabilitation of Canouan Airport Development aid
  9. ^ Airport expansion Sewells Paving
  10. ^ Expression of interest consulting services – Canouan Airport runway rehabilitation Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  11. ^ Canouan sets record with 123 private jets in December elite traveler: Travel News
  12. ^ Glossy Bay Marina opens for business April 17, 2017 The Irish Times
  13. ^ Ultra-luxe Pink Sands Club Ocean Home Magazine
  14. ^ Pink Sands Club joins Mandarin-Oriental
  15. ^ Ben Harrison - International Correspondent (24 April 2015). "The island of Canouan – a developer's dream". The Vencentian Newspaper.
  16. ^ Gay Nagle Myers-Contributing Editor (3 July 2018). "Canouan resort flies Mandarin Oriental flag". Travel Weekly.
  17. ^ Canouan luxury yacht and private jet getaways
  18. ^ 2009 Sports Illustrated - swimsuit edition
  19. ^ Mustique Airways – Scheduled flights 2017 - 2018
  20. ^ SVG Air launches St Lucia Canouan service
  21. ^ SVG Air – Scheduled flights retrieved 11 March 2018
  22. ^ "FIFA world cup trophy stops by on Vincentian soil". Searchlight Newspaper. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  23. ^ Searchlight Newspaper 22 November 2006
  24. ^ "Search still On For Missing St Vincent Pilot". Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  25. ^ Aviation Safety Network 5 March 2011

External linksEdit