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George F. L. Charles Airport

George F. L. Charles Airport (formerly Vigie Airport) (IATA: SLU, ICAO: TLPC) is the smaller of the two airports in Saint Lucia, the other being Hewanorra International Airport. It is located 2 km (1.2 mi) north of Castries, the capital city. George F. L. Charles Airport is managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). Its runway runs parallel to a pristine beach, Vigie Beach, which is a popular tourist attraction.

George F. L. Charles Airport

Aéroport George F. L. Charles
George F.L Charles Airport, Castries St Lucia, Runway View, Aug2014.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Saint Lucia
OperatorSaint Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority
ServesSaint Lucia Castries, Saint Lucia
LocationVigie, Castries
Opened1941; 78 years ago (1941)
Elevation AMSL22 ft / 7 m
Coordinates14°01′13″N 060°59′35″W / 14.02028°N 60.99306°W / 14.02028; -60.99306Coordinates: 14°01′13″N 060°59′35″W / 14.02028°N 60.99306°W / 14.02028; -60.99306
Websitehttp://www.stlucia-airport.com/
Map
SLU is located in Saint Lucia
SLU
SLU
Location in Saint Lucia
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 1,898 6,227 Asphalt
Helipads
Number Length Surface
m ft
H1 16 60 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers195,859
Passenger change 15–16Increase1.2%
Aircraft movements17,569
Movements change 15–16Increase2.51%
Source: DAFIF[1] 2012 SLASPA Statistics

HistoryEdit

British West Indies Airways (BWIA) was serving Vigie Field as early as 1950 with flights operated one or more days of the week to Barbados, Grenada, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Kitts operated with Lockheed Lodestar prop aircraft.[2] By 1965, BWIA was operating daily flights into the airport with Vickers Viscount turboprop airliners on a round trip routing of Port of Spain - Grenada - Barbados - St. Lucia - Martinique - Guadeloupe - Antigua.[3] The same year, Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) was operating a round trip flight six days a week on a routing of Antigua - Guadeloupe - Dominica - Martinique - St. Lucia - St. Vincent with Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprop aircraft.[4]

The airport was renamed on 4 August 1997 in honor of Saint Lucia politician Sir George Frederick Lawrence Charles (1916–2004).[5]

TrafficEdit

On average, George F. L. Charles Airport handles 32,000 flights per year carrying 394,000 passengers. Most of these flights operate with turboprop aircraft such as the ATR 72-500 or the Bombardier Dash 8.

 
George F. L. Charles Airport entrance

The airport currently has no scheduled jet service. All jet service into St. Lucia, including transatlantic flights, operates at the present time via Hewanorra International Airport, located on the southeast portion of the island.

Previous jet serviceEdit

The airport previously had scheduled passenger jet service flown by Caribair (Puerto Rico) which in 1968 was operating McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jetliners on a daily basis with nonstop flights to Antigua and Barbados with direct jet service to Port of Spain, Trinidad, St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas.[6] Another previous jet operator was BWIA West Indies Airways (operating as BWIA International at the time) which in 1996 was operating McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliners between the airport and Miami twice a week and also twice a week between the airport and New York JFK Airport with both of these direct, no change of plane flights making an intermediate stop in Antigua as well as flying MD-80 service several days a week nonstop to Barbados with these flights then continuing on to Port of Spain.[7]

 
Vigie Beach, immediately opposite the airport check-in and departure lounge area.

Airlines and destinationsEdit

CargoEdit

Other facilitiesEdit

The airport houses the George Charles Outstation of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority,[10] General Aviation Services, and the Island Flyers Club.

NavigationEdit

The airport offers an RNAV and NDB approach only on Runway 9. Landings on Runway 27 are strictly visual.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

On 8 November 2015, a Beechcraft Model 99, registered N7994H, veered off the runway into a grassy area at George F. L. Charles Airport after the aircraft's right landing gear malfunctioned. The sole occupant of the aircraft, the pilot, was not harmed. Following the incident, Hummingbird Air suspended all operations, and the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority launched an investigation.

 
George F. L. Charles Airport apron from the passenger's passageway

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Airport information for TLPC at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ http://www.airliners.net, Dec. 14, 1950 BWIA timetable
  3. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Dec. 15, 1965 BWIA timetable
  4. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Dec. 15, 1965 BWIA timetable, LIAT flight schedules
  5. ^ "St Lucia government press release concerning re-naming" (Press release). stlucia.gov.lc. Archived from the original on 2005-11-26.
  6. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, July 1, 1968 Caribair system timetable
  7. ^ April 7, 1996 OAG Pocket Flight Guide, St. Lucia, Miami and New York JFK flight schedules
  8. ^ "Air Sunshine". airsunshine.com.
  9. ^ "Inter-Caribbean Airways welcomes inaugural flight". stlucianewsonline.com.
  10. ^ "George Charles Oustation." Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority Retrieved on 23 December 2012.