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A brief history of CJIA

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport had its origins as a US military air baseduring World War Two. It was opened in 1941 as part of the Destroyers for Bases Agreementwith the Kingdom andnamed the Atkinson Field; after Maj. Eric Atkinson, the first commandant of the air base.
The mission of the station was the defense of the colony against NaziU-Boats. The airfield was also a major staging point for American aircraft crossing the Atlantic Ocean heading to the European Theatre on the South Atlantic transport route. Aircraft sold to the British forces by the United States were flown to Atkinson where they were turned over and ferried to North Africa.
In 1945 the airport commenced commercial service. In 1965 and 1968 additions were made to the airport facilities and on the 1st May 1969 the Atkinson Aerodrome was renamed the Timehri International Airport. The legal regulations for the airport were established under Chapter 52:01 of the Laws of Guyana.
Timehri International was also used by Cuban troops as a transit point where aircraft were refueled on their way to the warin Angolain the mid-1970s.
In March 1997, following the passing of H.E. President Dr. Cheddi Jagan; H.E. President Samuel Hinds decided to rename the airport the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. The proposition to rename the airport was tabled in the Parliament (National Assembly) by the Honourable Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Vibert De Souza who noted that it would be a fitting tribute to a man who had spent his life committed to the betterment of Amerindian people and fighting for the freedom and unity of all Guyanese
The Cheddi Jagan International Airport has evolved over time from its military genesis to an airfield serving predominantly domestic (hinterland/interior) locations to providing a port for the entry and exit of international travel.
The airport’s original layout featured two intersecting runways; RWY 11/29- 5000 ft and RWY 06/24 – 5500ft.
In 1968 extension works were completed on RWY 06/24 by the McCormick Company, increasing the length to 7500 feet.
However, with the expansion project that runway would be extended to 10500 feet.


An aerial view of Atkinson Airport

Image Caption: 

An aerial view of Atkinson Airport