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Sangster Intl Airport

Coordinates: 18°30′13″N 077°54′48″W / 18.50361°N 77.91333°W / 18.50361; -77.91333

Sangster International Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Airports Authority of Jamaica
Serves Montego Bay, Jamaica
Location Montego Bay, Jamaica
Elevation AMSL 4 ft / 1 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
07/25 8,735 2,662 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Passengers 3,378,000
Aircraft operations 45,788
Source: DAFIF

Sangster International Airport (IATA: MBJ, ICAO: MKJS) is an international airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It is one of the largest, busiest and most ultra-modern airports in the Caribbean capable of handling 9 million passengers yearly. Sangster is often referred to as the gateway to the Caribbean, and is the Caribbean hub for many airlines. It serves as the most popular airport for tourists visiting the north coast of Jamaica. MBJ is currently the busier of Jamaica's two main airports, the other being Norman Manley International Airport located in the capital city of Kingston. The airport is named after Jamaican Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster.


The Sir Donald Sangster International Airport or Sangster International Airport for short, in Montego Bay, St. James, has made significant strides over the years taking it to heights comparable with any international airport globally. However, the development of the airport did not happen overnight, but was first conceived in 1936 when the site now housing the Sangster International Airport was identified as one suitable for the construction of an airport in the town of Montego Bay. Originally named the Montego Bay Airport, a decision was made to build the runway in 1940, and the actual construction of the facility was completed on February 18, 1947. At the time of its completion, the town of Montego Bay was more like a playground for the rich and famous, and was considered then, one of the premier vacation spots within the Caribbean, just as it is today.

The first international airline to fly into the Montego Bay Airport was Pan American Airways, and in fact, the airport, which in comparison to today's standards, was more like a small aerodrome, was operated by Pan American until September 30, 1949, when the Jamaican Government took control of the facility. However, the Sangster International Airport, as we know it today, is nothing like it was in the early days. One of the most noticeable differences was that initially, the terminal building was on the northern side of the runway but was shifted to the southern side of the runway during one of the several upgrading exercises that took place at that facility, which was necessitated by the growth in air traffic over the years. Plans for the construction of a new terminal at its present location, on the southern side of the runway, was announced in July 1955. the plans for the new terminal building was part of what turned out to be a continued upgrading and restructuring of the facility, to enable it to cope with the growth in traffic. The new terminal was built and opened on July 7, 1959, with a capacity to accommodate 500 passengers per hour, and parking for seven aircraft at a time.

Over the years, the upgrading process was a continuous one, ultimately the facility had grown into the larger of the two international airports in Jamaica, handling approximately 3.7 million passengers per annum in 2007,and have seen and increase in passenger and aircraft movement since the start of 2008.They are currently seeking to increase the number of passengers from Asia, and are working with Brazil to receive non-stop service from there.

As of 2000, plans have been executed to expand the airport to the status of a world class airport. A new concourse was completed in December 2005 to allow large commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A340, Boeing 747-400 and possibly the Airbus A380. Also a planned expansion of the main runway is currently in the preparation phase, which will, when completed, afford the airport a fully functioning 10,000 ft. runway to accommodate large aircraft traffic. MBJ Airports Limited also commissioned a new customs hall, arrivals lobby and transportation center in March 2007. Since then further expansion and renovation projects such as the relocation of the immigrations hall and duty free mall has been launched and it is expected to be completed by October 2008. When complete the facility will be one of the Caribbean's most modern airports, and will have increased the handling capacity to 9 million passengers per annum.

Recently there was a change in management at the airport following the change in the consortium that operates this facility. Relations between the new management and Unions have been difficult with a strike in November 2007 and now in November 2009.

MBJ Airports Ltd.

Sangster is run by a consortium called MBJ Airports Limited. Leading partner of the consortium is Vancouver Airport Services (2% stake). Another partner is Abertis. Sangster was privatized and turned over by Airports Authority of Jamaica to the consortium in 2003.

Airlines and destinations

Passenger services

The Sangster International Airport has two terminals for international flights and has a terminal for domestic travel. The terminals currently serve the following airlines:

Airlines Destinations
Air Berlin Düsseldorf
Air Canada Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Air Transat Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Montréal-Trudeau, Québec City, Vancouver
AirTran Airways Atlanta, Baltimore, Orlando
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-JFK
Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare
Arkefly Amsterdam
Blue Panorama Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino
British Airways London-Gatwick
CanJet Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Québec City, Toronto-Pearson
Caribbean Airlines operated by Air Jamaica Fort Lauderdale, Kingston-Manley, New York-JFK, Philadelphia
Cayman Airways Grand Cayman
Condor Frankfurt
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK
Enerjet Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson
Iberworld Madrid
Jamaica Air Shuttle Kingston-Tinson Pen
Jetairfly Brussels
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York-JFK, Orlando
Livingston Energy Flight Milan-Malpensa
Orbest Lisbon
Skylan Airways Kingston-Manley
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Lansing [begins December 26], Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sunwing Airlines Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Québec City, Toronto-Pearson
Thomas Cook Airlines London-Gatwick, Manchester (UK)
Thomson Airways Birmingham (UK), London-Gatwick, Manchester (UK)
United Airlines Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles
US Airways Charlotte, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Boston, Phoenix
USA3000 Airlines Seasonal:Chicago-O'Hare, Detroit, St. Louis
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Gatwick
WestJet Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary [begins November 6], Edmonton [begins November 5], Montréal-Trudeau [begins November 5], Ottawa, Regina [begins November 6], Saskatoon [begins October 31], Vancouver [begins November 2], Winnipeg [begins November 3]
Whitejets Campinas-Viracopos, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão (Begins November 26)


Airlines Destinations
Air Jamaica Cargo Miami
Airpak Express Kingston-Tinson Pen, Boscobel, Negril
FedEx Express Kingston-Manley
IBC Airways Miami
Tara Courier Kingston-Tinson Pen, Boscobel, Negril

Incidents and accidents

  • On 21 January 1960, Avianca Flight 671, a Lockheed L-1049E, crashed and burned on landing, killing 37 aboard.
  • On 25 May 1972, one hour and 18 minutes after take-off from Panama City a homemade pipe bomb exploded in the ice water fountain service compartment of a Boeing 727. A rapid decompression followed. A successful emergency landing was carried out at Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • On 19 April 2009, CanJet Flight 918, a Boeing 737-800, was hijacked. The hijacker, armed with a semi-automatic pistol is reported as having asked to be taken to Cuba. However, the security personnel eventually regained control of the aircraft without anyone being injured.

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General Info
Country Jamaica
Time UTC-5
Latitude 18.503717
18° 30' 13.38" N
Longitude -77.913358
077° 54' 48.09" W
Elevation 4 feet
1 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 005° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Near City Montego Bay
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

TWR 118.75
GND 121.7
ATIS 127.9
APP 120.8

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
07/25 8735 x 150 feet
2662 x 46 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME SIA SANGSTER 104X 115.7 At Field -
NDB MBJ MONTEGO BAY - 248 At Field -

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.

100/130 MIL Spec, low lead, aviation gasoline (BLUE)

FUEL (NC-100LL,A1) Avbl 1400-2200Z, OT PN rqr.
LGT PAPI Rwy 07 GS 2.95 , PAPI Rwy 25 GS 3.10 .
RSTD Arpt clsd jet acft 0500-1200Z.

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