Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (IATA: SIG, ICAO: TJIG, FAA LID: SIG), also commonly known as Isla Grande Airport, is a small airport in San Juan, about 5 minutes by air and 15 minutes by car from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. It is adjacent to the new Puerto Rico Convention Center, the San Juan bay, and the Pan American Cruise Ship Terminal, and overlooks Cataño.
While Isla Grande’s main operation is with general aviation, it is still a commercial airport, dealing with some domestic commercial flights.
Isla Grande was Puerto Rico’s main international airport until 1954, when Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport was built. Until that year, international airlines such as Lufthansa, Iberia Airlines, Pan Am and other majors flew to Isla Grande. However, since Isla Grande airport was not built to accept jets, all international airlines then moved their operations in Puerto Rico to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, then named Isla Verde International Airport.
Isla Grande was renamed in honor of United States Air Force Major Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an F-111 pilot who was killed in action during Operation El Dorado Canyon; the 1986 airstrike of Libya.
A controversy regarding Isla Grande and Dorado Airport surfaced in 2003. Dorado Airport wanted to expand and attract the private aviation sector that has been Isla Grande’s main business for so long. Dorado airport eventually became a victim of urban development in Dorado and no longer exists.
On October 26, 2003, the airport made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican site of a SCCA Grand Prix race.
In 2006, after a detailed impact study and many rumors about the future of the airport, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority announced that Isla Grande airport would remain open for the foreseeable future, mostly because of its key function as the primary reliever for the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.