Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT)Grand Turk
|Grand Turk Airport Facts|
|Airport Code||IATA: GDT, ICAO: MBGT|
|Runway Length||6,360 feet (1,940 meters)|
|Elevation||13 feet (4 meters)|
|Clearance Status||International Entry|
The Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport services the island of Grand Turk, and is the only airport on the island. This airport has a single runway and terminal, and was named after James Alexander George Smith McCartney, the island territory's first Chief Minister, and first (and only) National Hero. JAGS McCartney (June 30, 1945 - May 8, 1980) died in a plane crash in New Jersey, United States.
IATA Code: GDT, ICAO Code: MBGT
The vast majority of flights to this airport are domestic island hops by the local interCaribbean and Caicos Express airlines flying between Providenciales, South Caicos, and Salt Cay.
There are no scheduled international flights to Grand Turk.
Check-in 30 minutes prior to domestic flight departure is typically sufficient, yet inquire and confirm with your airline when booking. There are security checkpoints for domestic flights in the Turks and Caicos, yet there typically isn’t a significant wait.
Both the Grand Turk and Providenciales airports have seating in the general terminal and in the domestic departure lounges, yet this may not be sufficient when at peak travel times.
The Grand Turk is a small yet generally efficient airport. As the site only typically handles local flights and small planes, baggage and luggage handling is typically conducted in a timely manner.
The airport facilities include the Cockpit Lounge (a small cafe and restaurant) and restrooms.
Complimentary and ample parking is available directly outside the terminal. Rental car pick-up is typically conducted here outside the terminal.
Taxis can typically be found waiting outside the airport terminal to take you to your destination. There is no public transport or bus service on Grand Turk.
The airport is located near the Grand Turk Cruise Center, and as such, it’s possible to arrange the pickup of rental cars and scooters at the site. This is especially useful for those visiting from Providenciales on a day trip to Grand Turk.
The airport is located by road about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the Grand Turk Cruise Center, and about 2 miles (3.2 km) to central Cockburn Town.
Private Planes and Flights
Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport welcomes private planes. See Getting to the Turks and Caicos by Private Plane and FBOs.
History of the Grand Turk Airport
After the salt industry began to decline in the Turks and Caicos at the beginning of the 1900s, Grand Turk and the Turks and Caicos Islands in general saw a very quiet epoch in time until the United States recognized the tactical advantage of the location of the Turks and Caicos.
In the early 1950s, two United States military installations were constructed: the U.S. Navy NAVFAC 104 at the northwest point of the island near the Grand Turk Lighthouse, and the U.S. Air Force South Base, the runway of which became the Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport.
South Base was primarily a guided missile tracking station, and was completed in 1953. The site saw operations under a contract with Pan American Airways and the Radio Corporation of America. The base was decommissioned in 1983.
The Mercury-Atlas 6 Mission
Grand Turk and the airport (then South Base) played a part in the Space Race. Friendship 7, which was the spaceship from the Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) mission that was the first crewed American orbital spaceflight, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean not far from the Turks and Caicos, and Grand Turk was the point of first landfall after reentry for John Glenn after orbiting the earth. A replica of the Friendship 7 space capsule can be seen outside the airport.