KINGSTON — A new international airport for private jets and small commercial aircraft has been opened in northern Jamaica, named after the British thriller writer who invented the literary and cinematic super spy James Bond.
Ian Fleming International Airport is close to the scenic retreat where the late author reportedly wrote all 14 of his books about the elegant, crafty spy. The property is now an exclusive resort owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who is credited with introducing reggae great Bob Marley’s music to the world.
The small airport, formerly called the Boscobel Aerodrome, features a terminal with customs and immigration sections to accommodate global travelers. Officials said the facility just outside the coastal town of Orcabessa is the Caribbean island’s third international airport.
The 007 author’s niece, Lucy Fleming, who traveled from her Oxfordshire home in southwestern England to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said her uncle would have been thrilled to see an airport emblazoned with his name in the Jamaican parish of St. Mary.
“He adored Jamaica and found so much inspiration and relaxation here. So I tell you something: to have this accolade of having an airport named after him here I know would have been a great honor for him,” Fleming said. “Honestly, I don’t think he would have written those books without Jamaica.”
Fleming first visited Jamaica in 1942, when he was an intelligence agent in Bermuda. He returned and bought a property he dubbed GoldenEye four years later, in the dying days of the British Empire, when the north shore of Jamaica teemed with scions of wealthy British families and American celebrities like Errol Flynn.
It was at GoldenEye where Fleming sat down at his desk to write Casino Royale, launching the phenomenally successful series that is still going strong. He named his dashing spy after an unassuming U.S. ornithologist who wrote Birds of the West Indies. Fleming died in 1964.
Several 007 movies, including Live and Let Die and Dr. No were filmed near Fleming’s Jamaica estate and the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye shares its name.
Music industry mogul Blackwell, who also attended the Jan. 12 opening, said the airport will be a boon not only for his nearby GoldenEye resort but also for the nearby tourist hotspot Ochio Rios and the northeastern town of Port Antonio.
“It’s very well set up,” said Blackwell, whose GoldenEye retreat is the flagship resort of his Island Outpost company which has a collection of hotels and villas in Jamaica and the Bahamas.