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Piarco Airport

Piarco International Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
Location Port of Spain
Hub for Caribbean Airlines
Amerijet International
Elevation AMSL 58 ft / 18 m
Coordinates 10°35′44″N 61°20′14″W / 10.59556°N 61.33722°W / 10.59556; -61.33722 (Piarco International Airport)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 10,500 3,200 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
International Passengers 1,728,777
Domestic Passengers 648,720
In-transit Passengers 188,703

Piarco International Airport (IATA: POS, ICAO: TTPP) is the main airport serving Trinidad and Tobago located in Piarco, a town in northern Trinidad, about 25 km east of the capital city, Port of Spain. It is one of two international airports serving the twin isle republic. The other is located on the island of Tobago, Crown Point Airport. The airport has one runway and two helipads.

Piarco International Airport has direct service to destinations in the United States, Canada, Central America, South America and Europe. The airport is the hub for the national airline of Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Airlines and is a third hub for Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT).


Early History

Considered one of the most modern airports in the Caribbean, Piarco Airport opened on January 8, 1931, to serve Venezuela's Compagnie Generale Aeropostale. Prior to this, the Queen's Park Savannah, the Mucarapo Field, and the Cocorite Docks (for flying boats) were used as airstrips to serve the island.

During World War II the airport was used by both the United States Army Air Force Sixth Air Force and United States Navy air squadrons. The airport was used both as a transport airfield and also for antisubmarine patrol flights over the south Caribbean. It was returned to civil control after the war.

During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces Sixth Air Force stationed the following units at the airport performing antisubmarine patrols:

  • 1st Bombardment Squadron (9th Bombardment Group) 24 April-29 October 1941 (B-18 Bolo)
  • 10th Bombardment Squadron (25th Bombardment Group) 27 August-12 October 1943 (B-18 Bolo)
  • 35th Bombardment Squadron (25th Bombardment Group) 27 August-12 October 1943 (B-18 Bolo)

Modern Day

A major expansion of the airport, which included the construction of a new terminal building, and high-speed taxiways, was completed in 2001. The old airport building is currently used for cargo handling. Piarco International Airport is also the primary hub and operating base of Caribbean Airlines and was also the primary hub and operating base of the now defunct BWIA West Indies Airways and Air Caribbean. Briko Air Services operates a flight school at the airport.


An American Airlines Boeing 757 undergoing pre-flight service at Piarco International Airport
An American Airlines Boeing 757 undergoing pre-flight service at Piarco International Airport

At Piarco International Airport there are two high-speed taxiways and three connector taxiways (ICAO Code F for new large aircraft). This technologically state of the art airport has 82 ticket counter positions that operate under SITA’s fiber-optic C.U.T.E. system which exceeds the recommended standards of ICAO and IATA. It also has a Flight Information Display System, which serves all airport users and a Baggage Information Display System.

The terminal is a fully air-conditioned, smoke free building, equipped to handle peak-hour passenger traffic of 1,500 processing passengers through a fully computerised immigration system. The Customs Hall has four baggage/cargo carousels.

An administrative/operations building for the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard is being constructed at the Piarco Air Base. Also, a military airfield will be constructed near the air base.

The control tower at the old terminal building is currently used for air traffic control. The tower at the new terminal building is used for ramp control and runway movement control. A new nine-story control tower is under construction, with radar unlike the existing one,it is scheduled to open in 2010.

An expression of some of the array of services offered at Piarco International Airport.
An expression of some of the array of services offered at Piarco International Airport.

The new North Terminal consist of 35,964 square meters (380,000 square ft) of building with 14 second-level aircraft gates for international flights and 2 ground level domestic gates. The overall layout of the building consists of three main elements: a landside core structure, a single level duty free shopping mall, and a 2-level 'Y' shaped concourse. 100-foot (30 m) cathedral ceilings and glass walls provide passengers and other visitors to the North Terminal with a sense of open space and magnificent views of the Piarco savannah and the nearby Northern mountain range. The public atrium has the largest glass dome in the Caribbean.

The airport is also large enough to accommodate most international widebody airliners including the Boeing 747, the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A340, medium sized aircraft including the Boeing 737 and Airbus A310 as well as small aircraft such as the DeHavilland Dash 8 and other such turboprop aircraft. The airport layout consists of one main terminal building which includes three concourses. These concourses are not strictly identified as their name depicts but are divided into the following areas; Gates 1-7, Gates 8-14 and the Tobago concourse which serves flights to Tobago.

The Air Guard of Trinidad and Tobago is based at Piarco International Airport.

The disused south terminal has been renovated into a VIP terminal for the Summmit of The Americas. The North terminal has also received additional remote parking stands. In November 2009, upgrades on the south terminal were completed and the area now serves as a private/executive jet facility for high-end travellers.

The Airport underwent expansion and renovation works in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government summit in November 2009. These improvements included:

  • Repaving and repainting of the taxiways.
  • Re-painting of the runway.
  • Installation of new Taxiway and Runway lighting.

Terminals,airlines and destinations

Piarco International Airport has two terminals. The south terminal was once the passenger terminal for the airport but has been renovated to serve as an executive terminal. It serves cargo flights, general aviation and helicopter flights. It has fourteen parking positions as well as light aircraft parking. The North terminal is the main passenger terminal. It handles all the commercial passenger airline traffic. The north terminal has seventeen parking positions, with additional hardstands present to the east and west of the main apron.

In addition to passenger airlines,the airport also handles cargo traffic, general aviation, military and helicopter flights to the many oil rigs present offshore.

Passenger Airlines

Airlines Destinations
Aerolíneas Estelar Porlamar, Punta Cana [seasonal]
Aeropostal Caracas
Airone Caribbean Barbados, Kingston [begins December 1]
Air Transat Toronto-Pearson [seasonal]
American Airlines Miami
American Eagle San Juan [ends April 4]
British Airways London-Gatwick, St Lucia-Hewanorra
Caribbean Airlines Antigua, Barbados, Caracas, Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown, Kingston, Miami, New York-JFK, Paramaribo, St Maarten, Tobago, Toronto-Pearson
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark
Copa Airlines Panama City
LIAT Antigua, Barbados, Curaçao, Georgetown, Grenada, St Lucia-Vigie, St Vincent
Rutaca Porlamar, Caracas, Maturin [seasonal]
Surinam Airways Curaçao, Paramaribo
Winair operated by Briko Air Services St Lucia-Vigie, Dominica-Melville Hall, St. Maarten

Cargo Airlines

Airlines Destinations
Amerijet Miami, Barcelona(VEN), Santo Domingo, Georgetown, Saint Vincent, Port Au Prince, Santiago (DR)
Ameriflight San Juan, St Lucia, Barbados
DHL Aviation Barbados, Caracas, Grenada
FedEx Express Aguadilla
Caribbean Airlines operated by ABX Air Barbados, Miami, Georgetown
Roraima Airways Georgetown

Helicopter Services

  • Bristow Caribbean
  • Evergreen International

Air Charter Services

  • Briko Air Services
  • Guardian Holdings
  • Evergreen International

Accidents and Incidents

  • 1963 - (January 5) A Cessna Skywagon carrying two Swedish persons, Torgny Sommelius (Pilot) and Erik Strandmark, crashed landed and caught fire at Piarco killing both of them (2 Deaths).
  • 1984 - (July 29) An Aeropostal DC-9 flight from Caracas to Curaçao with 87 persons on board was hijacked in the air by 5 gunmen and forced to land at Piarco. The Trinidad and Tobago Government refused to negotiate with the hijackers and the aircraft departed hours later.
  • 1990 - (January 17) A man jumped a fence and was sucked into a British Airways Boeing 747 engine. 1 death.
  • 2001 - An Aeropostal MD-80 broke its nose wheel after falling into open trench on taxiway. No deaths.
  • 2004 - There were a series of collisions involving ground operator Servisair and three separate aircraft (BWIA 737-800 reg. 9Y-GEO preparing to fly to Miami, BWIA A340-300 reg. 9Y-TJN, prepared to fly to London Heathrow, and Continental 737-800 en route to Houston's Bush Airport.) The damage done to the aircraft was minor. No deaths occurred.
  • 2005 - (April 18) Tobago Express Dash 8-300 made an emergency landing after the nose wheel failed to deploy. No deaths.
  • 2007 - Briko Air Cessna 172 crash-landed after a botched landing by a student pilot. No deaths.
  • 2007 - In October, both Piarco and the Crown Point Airport were shut down for at least 2 days due to failed negotiations with the airport staff for better working wages. All flights operated through Piarco and Crown Point were canceled, severely disrupting passengers traveling to Caribbean and International destinations.
  • 2007 - A Caribbean Airlines flight from Norman Manley International Airport with stops at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados and the Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Maarten encountered smoke in the engine of a Boeing 737-800 upon arrival in Piarco. Auxiliary power was lost in the cabin, but there were no reports of injuries of the 84 passengers.
  • 2008 - A Briko Air C402 suffered a failure of the right main gear and crash landed, closing the airport for two hours. No deaths.
  • 2008 - August 15 An American Airlines Boeing 757-200 made an emergency landing after hydraulic system problems. The aircraft landed safely but the brakes locked up and the plane couldn't exit the runway. Passengers were ferried to the terminal and mechanics took some three hours to remove the aircraft, closing the airport to flight operations. No injuries.
  • 2009 - Piarco and Crown Point International Airports suffered massive delays and cancellations after aircraft fuel plagued with massive amounts of sulphur was discovered, renderig the fuel unusable. Airlines to and from Piarco and Crown Point either cancelled or delayed their flights.
  • 2010-(July 14) An American Airlines Boeing 767-300 operating flight 1668 to Miami International was forced to make an emergency landing at the field following a bird strike.No Injuries or deaths were reported among the 212 passengers and crew.

The above content comes from Wikipedia and is published under free licenses – click here to read more.

General Info
Country Trinidad & Tobago
Time UTC-4
Latitude 10.595369
10° 35' 43.33" N
Longitude -61.337242
061° 20' 14.07" W
Elevation 58 feet
18 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 014° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Near City Port of Spain
Island Group Trinidad I
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

TWR 118.1
RDO 5526
APRON 121.75
GND 121.9
ATIS 126.7
APP 119.0
ACC 123.7

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
10/28 10500 x 150 feet
3200 x 46 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME POS PIARCO 116X 116.9 8.4 NM 036.8
NDB TRI PIARCO - 382 5.0 NM 102.7

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.

115/145 octane gasoline, leaded, MIL-L-5572F (PURPLE)

80/87 octane gasoline, leaded, MIL-L-5572F (RED)

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

CAUTION Parachute act vcnty afld and over Carrere. Info Avbl 118.5 and 127.85. Bird haz.
FUEL A1 (Avbl 0600-2200Z. Chevron USA Inc, National Petroleum, 868-669-4250); (NC-100LL).
LGT Bdry lgt avbl.
RSTD Med and hvy jet acft rstd fr making 180 turns on rwy, turning rstd to turning bays. Acft to and fr hgr area N of Rwy 10 to use twy B. Ngt VFR proh.

Thanks to: www.worldaerodata.com

The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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