Stanley Field (later Belize International Airport) in the 1940's to late 1960's
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Friday September 25, 2020

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Stanley Field (later Belize International Airport) in the 1940's to late 1960's

Look at all the Bush in the background, Ladyville was still not properly developed. Tan Sasa Plane in the background. Tan Airlines and SASHA were two different airlines at that time. Merged about 10 years later. The adjacent circular building at one point was the VIP lounge.

In 1968 a major upgrade would create offices for the still fledgling Civil Aviation Department (established 1956) and following the 1973 expansion it was re-named the Belize International Airport. Boeing 707-720 jets for the inaugural flight of the new Belize Airways Limited (BAL) were able to land for the first time in Belize on October 1st, 1977, following the runway extension of 1976, and it was re-named yet again, this time the Philip Goldson International (on February 7, 1988) between the expansions/upgradings of 1982 and 1990. The last major work was done in 1998, with a frenetic effort to finish before the August General Elections.

The direction we lookng at is West South West which means that Belize City is in that direction. Ladyville would be in the opposite direction. These days the planes don't make a lot of noise when they take off. Back then you could have gone on the roof to wave good bye and you could feel the rumble of the plane's engine in you chest as it flew by to take off. The current airport building is along the left going up to the left upper corner. This photo was probably pre-70's. Maybe pre-60's, maybe mid to late 70s, the VIP lounge was already there, the round building to the right of the main terminal.

I used to work as the airport manager for Tan airlines from July 15 1970, started as driver, then baggage handler. Mr Ernest Williams RIP started me. Passage to Miami was only 85.00 us, excess baggage was charged by pound, free food and enough free drinks. Had a Belizean stewardess from Belize, the best treatment, transit passengers were allowed 15 mins to purchase, booze cheaper than Miami, good old days, retired from airline in 2018, indeed blast from the past.

I remember going to that airport with Ms. Sheila Blake who ran the restaurant. That's where we use to go to swim in the summer time... The sound of those planes and watching them fly overhead was awesome.

The original plan was to construct the Belize International Airport in the Hattieville area and the Municipal Airstrip was to be re-located at the Belize International Airport.

Thanks to Frank Locke Sr, deceased, Mr Watson, Mr Johnson, Mr Knox, Mr Balderamos, just a few of the old crew.

George Ivan Sosa: Up till 90ís in operation .. the old terminal. When the new terminal was built in the 90ís, the new head loaned my trusty 286 PC as their shipment did not arrive yet. Wonder if my PC was the first to be used at the new terminal?

History of Civil Aviation in Belize

Time Period

Progress Achieved


First aircraft to land in Belize was on the coastline by a seaplane on 23 rd February.


Charles Lindberg piloted the first aircraft to land on Belize mainland. This landing was at Newtown Barracks, Belize City on December 30 th .


Sometime after 1931 the construction of three gravel runways became known as Aviation Field


A 5,000 feet runway was built and an Airport Terminal Building was completed in 1945. The airport was named after Sir Oliver Stanley, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It was called Stanley Field.


Modification of the Terminal Building was done and included the renovation of the Air Traffic Control Tower on the top of the Terminal Building.


The Canadian Government through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) constructed a Control Tower intended to serve the airport for three to five years. This constructed at an area away from the Terminal Building.


A Control Tower on top of the Terminal Building was rebuilt by the Government of Belize.


The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport was inagurated in 1990.


Joined ICAO


With the opening of the New Terminal Building, Air Traffic Control was provided through a new Air Traffic Control Tower. The equipment in the Tower was a brand new French communications system. After some years of use the equipment became obsolete and COCESNA through a modernization program for its Member States (of which Belize is a Member), replaced the communications systems with more modern ones.


The Air Traffic Control Tower's voice communication system was modernized.


The radio navigational aid - Doppler Very High Frequency Omni-directional Radio Range collocated with a Distance Measuring Equipment (DVOR/DME) was modernized.


A new Approach Control Centre was built together with the installation of a brand new state of the art Monopulse Secondary Surveillance RADAR for the enhancement and increased management of Belize's airspace.


A new radio navigational aid - Instrument Landing System collocated with its Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) was installed


The offices of the Belize Department of Civil Aviation were officially transferred from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) Terminal Building to the new Department of Civil Aviation (BDCA) Building.

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