Vere Cornwall Bird International Airport (ANU/TAPA) to date is the only airport on the island of Antigua (pronounced “Ann-Tee-Ga”). Originally built as a base for the USAF in 1941, it became a civil airport in 1948. The airport is considered a gateway to the Eastern Caribbean, and it is the largest of the Leeward Island airports. A new terminal was completed in 2015 to handle the 900,000 annual passengers.
LIAT – Leeward Islands Air Transport – has its headquarters at VCBIA, hence their ATRs can be seen frequently. Besides LIAT various other regional airlines, such as Sky High, Seaborne and Winair, operate regular flights to the island. Due to Antigua’s history as a British colony for an extended period of time – the island became independent in 1981, but is still part of the Commonwealth – British Airways currently offers six weekly flight from London Gatwick to ANU. The only other link to Europe are seasonal charters by Thomas Cook UK (from MAN) and Blue Panorama (from MXP).
Throughout the day though, flights from the US and Canada account for the the major portion of traffic. All US mainline carriers – American, Delta and United – as well as Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing serve the airport frequently. Several Cargo carriers serve the airport as well, namely Amerijet (767F from MIA), Ameriflight (Fairchild Metroliner), DHL and Fedex Feeder (with Cessna Caravan).
Written by Thomas Okaty. Last Visit: April 2019
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|Airport Information||Runways||07/25||3068 m (10,066 ft)|
|Terminals||One terminal – all commercial passenger flights are handled in this terminal.|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required at the listed spotting locations.|
|Car||Required to get to spot #1. Recommended for spot #2, however, the location can be reached by foot as well, but it’s a 20-25 min walk along a busy road, which lacks proper sidewalks. Also, keep in mind that they drive on the left!|
|Restrooms||In the terminal.|
|Drinks/Food||In the terminal. There is also a gas station – Rubis Dee’s Service Station – on the way between spot #1 and spot #2 (at the corner of Sir George Walter Hwy and Old Parham Rd).|
|Hotels||There are no hotels directly located at the airport, but it’s only a 20 min drive to the center of St. John’s, which is the capital city of Antigua and where several accommodation options can be found.|
|Season||Best time to visit is December to April. It starts getting humid in May and the rainy and hurricane season lasts from June to November.|
|Runway Usage||General Information||As Antigua is right in the path of the trade winds over the Atlantic Ocean, easterly winds are dominant, hence Rwy 07 is operative for both arrivals and departures most of the time.|
|07/25||All arrivals and departures. For take-off on 07, larger aircraft will back-taxi on the runway and make a 180 degree turn on the designated pad at the end of the runway as taxiway G is limited to a MTOW of 65,000 lbs (29,484 kg).|
|Spot #1 – Burma Rd Mound – Rwy 07 Arrivals & Departures|
|WHERE||A rental car or taxi is needed to get to this spotting location. Coming from the airport take Sir George Walter Hwy towards St. John’s. Once you are past the western end of the airport you will approach a traffic-light-controlled intersection. Make a left at the traffic light – Rubis Dee’s Service Station is on your right – onto Palmetto Drive. Follow this road until it makes a sharp right turn and where you have to turn left onto Burma Road. Follow along Burma Road until it changes from a paved road into a gravel road. There you will see the dirt mound in front of you on the left side of the road. Just park your car roadside at the dirt mound. Mind the trucks which occasionally go into or come out of the Pigotts Hill quarry pit at the end of this road.|
|WHAT||Rwy 07 arrivals and departures.|
|TIME||From sunrise until early afternoon.|
|MISC.||Nothing near by, bring everything you need. No shade, no shelter!|
|Spot #2 – Budget Car Rental – Rwy 07 Arrivals & Departures|
|WHERE||This spot is located north of the airport right next to the Budget rental car station. Coming from the airport take Sir George Walter Hwy towards St. John’s. Once the road is parallel to the runway – you have just passed the LIAT Head Office – look for an entrance to an unpaved driveway on your right (across from where taxiway G joins the runway). Follow the driveway up the hill until you see the Budget sign. Just park your car under the trees on your left and walk further up the hill until you are high enough that the airport fence is out of your frame.|
|WHAT||Rwy 07 Arrivals & Departures as well as traffic using taxiway G.|
|TIME||From early afternoon until sunset|
|MISC.||Nothing near by, bring everything you need. No shelter, but there are a few trees, which provide some shade.|