OCHO RIOS — The Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA) in St. Mary welcomed its first international flight on Thursday (Jan. 20), one week after the official opening.
At approximately 3:07 pm a private jet out of Toronto, Canada touched down at the airport with founders of international leather goods company “Roots” on board.
Impressed with the smooth landing after the four-hour flight, passengers, Don Green, Michael Budman and Gary Shiff said they were happy to be in Jamaica and more so, to have arrived at the Ian Fleming International Airport.
“We have been coming to Jamaica every year for the past 41 years and this is a new experience for us,” Don Green told journalists.
In addition, Mr. Green’s business partner, Michael Budman said that he loved Jamaica, the people and the culture.
“It feels really good to be in Jamaica. Usually, we would fly into Montego Bay before the new highway and it would have taken roughly three and a half hours to get here (Boscobel) but with the Ian Fleming International Airport located right here, it cuts everything in half,” Mr. Budman said.
He lauded the pilots for “having done a wonderful job” and for arriving in Jamaica in commendable time.
Meanwhile, Administrative Coordinator and Marketing Officer at IFIA, Claudile Sydial, said that the IFIA was looking forward to welcome many other international flights. She said that the flight out of Canada marked the beginning of good things for the airport.
“Since the official opening of the facility, we have been getting a lot of telephone calls from interested persons, both local and international, in regards to the specifics of the airport.
“The international callers want to know about the St. Mary area and Boscobel in particular and if the IFIA can accommodate their private jets and chartered flights. The locals on the other hand are interested to find out about our services, whether or not we provide air shuttle service to either the Norman Manley or Donald Sangster International airports,” she told JIS News.
Formerly Boscobel Aerodrome, the airport was upgraded and renamed for late author Ian Fleming, who created the famous James Bond character. Fleming lived in nearby Oracabessa for many years where he wrote the James Bond novels, which have become blockbuster films.
The airport, which was opened on January 12 by Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, is located five miles from Ocho Rios and caters to the needs of high-end tourists and general aviation.
By ALDEEN CAMPBELL, JIS Reporter