Each of the major inhabited islands has an airport, although not all have scheduled domestic services.
North Caicos Airport (NCA) is operational, yet is used for charter flights only.
Middle Caicos Airport (MDS) is occasionally utilised by local private pilots, but does not have emergency services (firetrucks), and isn't open to commercial flights.
An abandoned airstrip exists on the northern end of
West Caicos. The site is partially overgrown and is not operational or suitable for use by aircraft.
Ambergris Cay also has a private airport, which has been assigned ICAO code MBAC (it has not been assigned a short IATA 3-letter code).
Providenciales hosts by far the greatest range of amenities and services for private aircraft, and is the recommended port of entry for international flights. Fuels costs are likewise lowest, and there are two FBOs with ample space for parking planes of all sizes.
The Turks and Caicos has two domestic airlines:
Caicos Express Airways. These airlines connect Providenciales to Grand Turk, South Caicos, and Salt Cay, and provide regional flights to destinations throughout the Caribbean.
International flight services to Providenciales include American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest (starting late 2017), British Airways, AirCanada, Delta and United.
Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the primary airport in the Turks and Caicos, and has the greatest range of transport options, ranging from taxis, car rentals, and private luxury transfers.
The other airports in the Turks and Caicos have limited available transportation, which is largely limited to a couple taxis. In the case of Salt Cay, South Caicos, and our smaller boutique islands, accommodations will often provide complimentary transport for guests.
History and Future Development
South Caicos Airport, 1968. This airport was built to support the U.S. Coast Guard LORAN facility. Photo courtesy of and copyright of U.S. Coast Guard veteran Charles A. Bliley (www.bliley.net).
Providenciales' first airport was in the vicinity of the current
Graceway IGA, in the middle of the island. With the construction of
Club Med in the 1980s, the site was recognized as being insufficient and the British funded a relocation and the development of the current airport.
The Providenciales airport underwent a major refurbishment in 2012, however the expanded terminal was undersized before it was even completed. There are talks of building a new international terminal.
American Airlines began flying from Miami to Providenciales in the early 1990s, and their scheduled and regular flights were instrumental in transforming the tourism industry on Providenciales. The number of airlines flying to the Turks and Caicos has steadily grown over the last decade, and today the Providenciales International Airport welcomes aircraft from across the United States, Canada, the UK and many Caribbean destinations.
South Caicos Airport was also due to undergo expansion in 2007, yet the project became stalled due to the global financial crisis. Work has recently restarted, and hopes are that the new terminal, taxiway, and apron will be completed in the next couple of years.
Many of the airports and airstrips in the Turks and Caicos have had interesting origins. The first airports in the country, such as the U.S. Air Force South Base on Grand Turk, which became the Grand Turk airport, and the South Caicos Airport, were constructed to support U.S.
Navy, Air Force, and
Coast Guard bases in the country. After these sites were decommissioned, possession was handed over to the local government. The disused
West Caicos airstrip was built by Exxon, when the island was being considered as a site for an oil transshipment station.