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Beef Island Airport 

The Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, re-named in honor of a prominent local politician in March, 2002, is the only major airport in the British Virgin Islands.  The airport is situated on Beef Island, a small island on the East End of Tortola, to which it is connected by a bridge.  The airport is situated some 9 miles (15 kms) from Road Town.


  Despite the opening of a new terminal building when the airport received its new name, and several other improvements since then, the airport still does not have the capability of accommodating major jets – currently, the largest aircraft flying out of here has a capacity of only 64 seats.

Consequently, travelers arriving in Tortola by air generally have to take a flight from the major Caribbean airports of San Juan, Puerto Rico or St Thomas, a US Virgin Island.  It is also possible to take connecting flights from the island of St Maarten, jointly controlled by the French and the Dutch.  Passengers from St Thomas often prefer to take the ferry across to Tortola.

Currently, there are 21 daily flights from Beef Island to San Juan, with a flight time of 30 minutes, using American Popular Airlines, Air Sunshine and Cape Air.  This compares with just 8 daily flights to St Maarten, with Liat or Windward Islands Airways.  In addition, there are daily flights to St Thomas, Antigua and Anegada – this being a 10 minute flight with Clair Aero, in a plane that has a maximum capacity of 7 passengers and reaches just 2,000 feet.

There is a charter service available at the airport for people who wish to use it.

At present, about 8,500 passengers travel out of the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport each week.

It might be important to be aware of the fact that, although there is plenty of car rental available on Tortola, it is possible to rent a vehicle at the airport. There are also plenty of taxis available and many resorts will provide their vacationers with  Courtesy Vans or, in the case of island resorts, shuttles to water taxis, to take guests directly to destinations. It’s advisable to make yourself familiar with the situation well in advance.

On your flight home, make sure that you arrive at the departures area for check in at least an hour and a half or two hours before departure as security for international flights has been tightened up everywhere.  There is a restaurant, and also a bar, for passengers at the airport but don’t forget you will have to pay 15 US dollars departure tax and 5 US dollars Security charge when you leave Beef Island by air.

It might not be one of the world’s largest airports – but what it lacks in size the airport at Beef Island more than makes up for with the spectacular views you get of the Virgin Islands as you approach the runway.

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