NEW YORK, NY – Anguilla’s Wallblake Airport has been renamed the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport and having met the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization is now designated an international airport. The name was officially changed on July 4 to honor Anguilla’s foremost aviation pioneer, Captain Clayton J. Lloyd.
Captain Lloyd was the first Anguillan pilot, and he created the first Anguilla air service, Air Anguilla, later known as Valley Air Service, which operated from the 1960s to 1977. His first airplane, the Piper Aztec, transported Anguillans between islands, and Lloyd eventually operated a fleet of seven aircraft including a Cessna, Islander, Navaho, and Queen Air Beechcraft. Besides providing revenue for the island and employment and training for Anguillans, his services also included Coast Guard search and rescue missions for lost fishermen and medical emergency transportation for Anguillans and visitors.
July 4, the day of the renaming ceremony, would have been the sixty-eighth birthday of Captain Lloyd who unfortunately died on December 24, 1977 at the age of 35, along with six passengers on a flight from St. Maarten to Anguilla shortly after one of the engines of his Beech Twin Bonanza aircraft caught fire during take-off.
The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport served as a military airstrip in the 1940s and today the 5,400 feet airstrip accommodates regular inter-island aircraft, travelers, and executive jets. Hon. Haydn Hughes, Anguilla’s Parliamentary Secretary, responsible for tourism stated: “The lifeline for a tourism destination is having easy and convenient access, so we are particularly pleased that Anguilla is now able to provide the prospective visitor with the widest range ever of options to travel here. This bodes well for the remarkable resorts that have recently opened and the new product that will be ready for the upcoming winter season.”
The latest addition to Anguilla’s airlift is the announcement by Cape Air to add Anguilla to their inter-island service in the Caribbean on December 22, 2010. American Airlines, Continental, Delta, and US Air already offer convenient connecting service on American Eagle and Anguilla Air Express from the hub in San Juan, Puerto Rico.