Hewanorra International Airport
Aéroport International Hewanorra
|Owner||Government of Saint Lucia|
|Operator||Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority|
|Serves||Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia|
|Location||La Tourney, Vieux Fort|
|Elevation AMSL||14 ft / 4 m|
|Statistics (2019 Q1)|
Hewanorra International Airport (IATA: UVF, ICAO: TLPL), located near Vieux Fort Quarter, Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean, is the larger of Saint Lucia's two airports and is managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). It is on the southern cape of the island, about 53.4 km (33.2 mi) from the capital city, Castries.
The airport is a Fire Category 9 facility that handles 500,000 passengers a year and can accommodate Boeing 747, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 777, and other long-range intercontinental aircraft. Aircraft maintenance is carried out by Caribbean Dispatch Services. The country's smaller airport, George F. L. Charles Airport, is located in Castries and handles inter-Caribbean passenger flights, which are operated with turboprop and prop aircraft.
Hewanorra International Airport was originally named Beane Army Airfield and was used as a military airfield by the United States Army Air Forces' Sixth Air Force during World War II. Beane Field was activated in early 1941 with a mission to defend Saint Lucia against an enemy attack.
The former base was then refurbished and converted into a commercial airport. There is a disused northeast/southwest runway north of the main east-west runway that was part of the military airfield. It is in poor condition, along with a few dispersals.
BWIA West Indies Airways introduced Boeing 727-100 "Sunjet" service into the airport in 1965 flying a round trip routing of Port of Spain, Trinidad - Barbados - St. Lucia - San Juan, Puerto Rico - Kingston, Jamaica - Montego Bay - Miami once a week. By 1971, BWIA was operating Boeing 707 jet service on a round trip routing of Port of Spain - St. Lucia - Antigua - New York JFK Airport twice a week.
The Official Airline Guide (OAG) lists three airlines operating jet service into the airport during the mid and late 1970s: British Airways, BWIA West Indies Airways (operating as BWIA International at this time), both flying Boeing 707 aircraft, and Eastern Airlines flying Boeing 727-100 aircraft. According to the OAG, all three air carriers were operating jet flights from other islands in the Caribbean at this time with British Airways also flying nonstop and direct service between the airport and London Heathrow Airport.
British Airways and BWIA were serving the airport with wide body jetliners in 1993 with British Airways operating Boeing 747 aircraft and BWIA operating Lockheed L-1011 Tristar series 500 aircraft. According to the OAG, BWIA was operating nonstop service from Frankfurt, Germany and London Heathrow Airport as well as direct one stop service from Zurich, Switzerland while British Airways was operating direct one stop service from London Gatwick Airport at this time.
In 1994, American Airlines was operating daily direct Boeing 727-200 service from Washington Dulles Airport via a stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico as well operating nonstop Boeing 757-200 service on the weekends from New York Kennedy Airport with Leisure Air also operating a nonstop flight from New York JFK Airport once a week with an Airbus A320 while BWIA was operating direct McDonnell Douglas MD-80 flights three days a week from Miami via a stop at Antigua. By the next year, American was operating larger Boeing 767-300 wide body jetliners on its weekend nonstop service from New York JFK Airport in addition to daily wide body Airbus A300 jets from Orlando via a stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico with BWIA operating nonstop McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service from New York JFK Airport four days a week as well as direct MD-80 flights four days a week from Miami via a stop in Antigua with Air Canada operating weekend nonstop service from Toronto with Airbus A320 and wide body Boeing 767-200 jets.
Officials have proposed a new terminal building at Hewanorra to accommodate Saint Lucia's growing tourism industry. It is envisaged that the new terminal would be more than twice as large as the current facility, equipped with 6 to 8 jet bridges and a proposed 13 parking positions, including one stand capable of handling the Airbus A380. Currently, the airport has seven parking positions: two for wide-body aircraft, two behind those, and three for medium-sized aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 757.
Under a master plan, the runway will also be widened. At 2,745 metres (9,000 ft), Hewanorra's runway is already long enough to handle most commercial aircraft. However, its 45.72-metre (150.0 ft) width is insufficient to handle the Airbus A380, which requires 60.96 m (200.0 ft) from shoulder to shoulder and a length of at least 3,050 m (10,000 ft). There are also plans to exploit a disused concrete runway to the north of the airport, which was built by the American military during World War II and could be recommissioned as a taxiway for cargo operations and access to hangars. One proposal is to move cargo operations to the north side of the airport, putting in all the requisite infrastructure as well as two stands for aircraft up to Boeing 747 freighter size.
This project is hoped to be financed by the increased airport tax, which is now approximately XCD 290 (approx. USD 107,30) for each passenger.
The airport uses a single east-west runway, connected by two taxiways at its midsection, with turning bays at the end for back-tracking. As a result of the trade winds that blow northeast across Saint Lucia, all aircraft usually arrive and depart in an easterly direction. This results in a typical flight path for arriving aircraft along the west coast of Saint Lucia, while departing flights usually fly along the east coast of the island. On relatively rare occasions, weather disturbances such as passing hurricanes or tropical systems may force planes to take off or land in a westerly direction.
|Air Canada Rouge||Toronto-Pearson|
|American Airlines|| Charlotte, Miami|
Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare (begins December 21, 2019), Philadelphia
|British Airways||Grenada, London-Gatwick, Port of Spain|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|JetBlue|| New York-JFK|
|Sunwing Airlines||Seasonal: Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson|||
|TUI Airways||Charter: London-Gatwick|||
|United Airlines|| Newark|
|Virgin Atlantic||London-Gatwick (ends June 7, 2020)|||
|Amerijet International||Antigua, Barbados, Miami, Port of Spain, Saint Vincent|
Quebecair flight 714, a charter flight from Toronto, crashed on its approach to Hewanorra International Airport on 19 February 1979. Wind shear caused the aircraft to halt its descent. The copilot, who was flying at the time, retarded the throttles, but the aircraft had just passed the wind shear zone, and the nose slammed into the runway and bounced twice, destroying the nose landing gear. There were no fatalities and only minor injuries. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was written off.
Media related to Hewanorra International Airport at Wikimedia Commons