The airport in relation to the city
Toussaint Louverture International Airport (IATA: PAP, ICAO: MTPP) is an airport located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, serving as main international gateway of the country. As of January 2010 it was temporarily placed under the control of the United States Air Force, due to major international relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake. It is currently one of 2 operational airports near the epicentre of the earthquake, the other being Jacmel Airport, formally under the control of the Canadian Forces.
In the 1940s a military and civil airfield, Bowen Field, was established near Baie de Port-au-Prince providing passenger air service by Compagnie Haitienne de Transports Aériens. It served as an airbase for the U.S. military in Haiti in the 1950s and 1960s.
Developed with grant money from the United States Government, the current airport opened in 1965 as Francois Duvalier International Airport, named after then Haitian president Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Following the resignation of Duvalier's son and successor Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986, the airport was renamed Port-au-Prince International, before being renamed again as Toussaint Louverture International Airport in 2003, in honour of the Haitian revolutionary leader.
The main building of the airport works as the International Terminal. It consists of a two story concrete and glass structure. Lounges and a few retail stores are located on the second floor of the main building. Check-in counters, gates and immigration facilities are on the lower floor. The Guy Malary Terminal (named after former Haitian Justice Minister Guy Malary) is used for domestic flights. There are further buildings used for general aviation and cargo flights. The airport has 3 jet bridges, but most passengers walk onto aircraft from mobile stairs. The ramp area can handle 12 planes.
The airport can be accessed by car (with parking space being located adjacent to the terminal building) or by National Bus Route 1.
Airlines and destinations
2010 Haitian earthquake
Due to the close proximity and shallow depth (6 miles) to the hypocenter or focus of the 2010 Haitian earthquake on January 12, Toussaint Louverture International Airport was damaged. While the runway, the taxiways and the apron of the airport remained operational, radio communications were not possible due to the control tower suffering extensive damage. The airport lighting system was also shut down due to power outages. Nevertheless, the airport was able to be accessed with UNICOM procedures after the quake.
On the morning of January 13, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Forward arrived and began running air-traffic control from Port-au-Prince Bay. UN Peacekeeping forces had also moved quickly to secure the airport, thus allowing international rescue and aid forces to start their work. Later in the day, United States Air Force Special Tactics personnel landed at the airport and assumed air traffic control (ATC) duties as well as much of the operation of the airport. Their ATC set-up consisted of a folding table placed near the runway and handheld transceivers, as well as the use of a motorcycle to guide aircraft to parking zones.
As of January 14, dozens of cargo planes were landing and taking off, but regular scheduled commercial air service ceased. Meantime, some inbound travelers were reaching Haiti by flying to neighboring Dominican Republic, primarily Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, and then traveling overland.
On January 15, heavy traffic to the airport forced the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Control System Command Center to issue a ground stop for all aircraft attempting to leave the U.S. for Haitian airspace due to limited space and lack of fuel at the airport. Problems had been compounded by pilots inbound to the airport canceling instrument flight rules operation and proceeding on visual flight rules. That day the United States was formally granted temporary control of the airport per a memorandum of understanding signed by the Haitian Prime Minister. The airport has apparently been operating without radar, although the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived the morning of the 15th and has advanced aircraft tracking capabilities.
By the morning of January 18, less than five days after arriving, a reported 819 aircraft had landed under the direction of the USAF team. That day, 180 flights were handled at the airport according to Lieutenant General Ken Keen, commander of the U.S. joint task force assisting in Haiti.
Late in January, US military had plans established to reopen the airport to civilian flights. Some military flights would be shifted to Jacmel Airport, under control of the Canadian Forces.
On February 19, 2010, partial commercial operation returned to the airport.
Incidents and accidents
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