All international flights to Belize fly into Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Ladyville about 9 miles (15 km) north of downtown Belize City. The airport has a 9,700-foot-long runway capable of handling all but the largest jets. U.S. gateway cities with nonstop service by international airlines to Belize include Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Newark. International cities with nonstop service to Belize on international airlines include Panama City, Panama, San Salvador, El Salvador, and Toronto, Canada. Not all cities have daily service, and in some cases service is seasonal, typically during the high season from late November to April or May.
Seven international airlines fly into Belize from U.S. and Central American cities: American Airlines has multiple flights daily from Miami (MIA) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and nondaily, limited seasonal service from Charlotte (CLT). Avianca Airlines, formerly TACA, has daily service from its hub in San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL). Copa Airlines currently has three flights a week from Panama City, Panama (PTY). Delta Airlines has daily nonstop service from Atlanta (ATL) and some flights from Los Angeles (LAX), although service may be reduced during off-season months. Southwest Airlines has daily service from Houston Hobby (HOU) and, beginning spring 2017, weekly service from Denver (DEN). United Airlines has multiple daily flights from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and a weekly flight from Chicago O'Hare (ORD). WestJet, a Canadian airline, began twice-weekly nonstop service from Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) to Belize in late 2016. Currently, there is no nonstop service to Belize from anywhere in Europe, but American has a flight from London connecting in Miami that allows a same-day arrival in Belize without an overnight layover.
To Belize City it's roughly 2½–3 hours from Miami and Atlanta; 2½–3½ hours from Dallas, Houston, and Charlotte; 4½ hours from Newark and Denver; and about 6 hours from Los Angeles and Toronto.
Tropic Air, one of two Belizean airlines and the only one with international flights, offers twice-daily service between Belize City's international airport and Flores, Guatemala, with continuing service (usually on a code-share with TAG, a Guatemalan airline) to and from Guatemala City. It also has service between Belize City and Cancún and Mérida, Mexico, and less-than-daily service to and from San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and Roatán, Honduras. Service frequency varies during the year, depending on demand. Maya Island Air, another Belizean airline, currently has domestic service only.
Domestic planes are single- or twin-engine island-hoppers and puddle-jumpers, such as Cessna Caravans. They typically carry 4 to 14 passengers. The carriers are Tropic Air and Maya Island Air; both have about 250 domestic flights daily and fly to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker as well as to Corozal Town, Dangriga, Placencia, and Punta Gorda. Tropic Air also has domestic service to Orange Walk Town, Belmopan and San Ignacio. Maya Island Air also has service to Savannah and Kanantik, airstrips near Placencia.
Belize domestic flights on Maya Island and Tropic Air from and to the international airport are between BZ$250 and BZ$500 round-trip and somewhat less, about BZ$150 to BZ$400 round-trip, between the municipal airstrip (TZA) in Belize City and domestic destinations. A Belize Airports Authority Rider Fee of BZ$5 is added into the cost of tickets, and BZ$1.50 security fee is added if using the international airport.
Charter services such as Javier Flying Service will take you almost anywhere for around BZ$400 per hour and up; Javier specializes in flights to Chan Chich Lodge, Blancaneaux Lodge, and Hidden Valley Inn on the mainland and the Phoenix Resort on Ambergris Caye. Both Maya Island and Tropic Air also offer charter services to remote lodges and resorts with airstrips such as Chan Chich and Blancaneaux. Astrum Helicopters, based near Belize City, offers transfers, aerial property tours, and custom sightseeing and photography tours anywhere in Belize. Costs for up to six people in the Bell 206 helicopters are around BZ$2,000 an hour. Fixed rates apply for transfers to specific resorts, starting at BZ$2,500 for one to four persons.
You'll save 10% to 40% on flights within Belize by flying to and from the municipal airport near downtown Belize City, rather than to or from the international airport north of the city in Ladyville. If you're arriving at the international airport, a transfer by taxi to the municipal airport is BZ$50 for two persons, plus an additional BZ$10 for each extra person; transferring to the municipal airport sometimes makes more sense for families or groups traveling together. If you need to fly between Belize City and another part of the country, it's always at least a little cheaper to fly to or from municipal airports. Be aware that the municipal airstrip is short, just 1,825 feet, suitable only for short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. It sits right beside the sea. Landings and takeoffs sometimes can be a thrill.
American Airlines. In Belize, American has an office at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Ladyville and a reservations center on New Road in Belize City. American Airlines, Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 800/433–7300; 223/2522; 225/4146; www.aa.com.
Astrum Helicopters. Cisco Base, Mile 3.5 George Price Hwy., formerly Western Hwy., Western Suburbs, Belize City, Belize District. 222/5100; www.astrumhelicopters.com.
Avianca Airlines. Formerly TACA, Avianca has service (using some equipment still with the TACA name) to Belize from San Salvador, El Salvador. Belize Global Travel Services, 41 Albert St., Commercial District, Belize City, Belize District. 800/284–2622; 227–7363; 227/7363; www.avianca.com.
Cari Bee Air Service. Belize City Municipal Airstrip, Marine Parade Harbor Front, Belize City, Belize District. 224/4253.
Copa Airlines. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 800/359--2672; www.copaair.com.
Delta Airlines. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 888/750--3284; 255/2010; www.delta.com.
Javier Flying Service. Central Farm Airstrip, San Ignacio, Cayo. 824/0460; www.javiersflyingservice.com.
Maya Island Air. Belize City Municipal Airstrip, Marine Parade Harbor Front, Belize City, Belize District. 223–1403; www.mayaislandair.com.
Southwest Airlines. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 800/435--9792; 225/2045; www.southwest.com.
Tropic Air. Tropic Air, Belize' largest travel provider, is based in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, where it has a modern terminal at the San Pedro airstrip. It flies both domestically and, from the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Ladyville, to international destinations in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. San Pedro Airstrip, San Pedro Town, Belize District. 226/2626; 800/422–3435; www.tropicair.com.
United Air Lines. United, which merged with Continental, has the most extensive network of service between the United States and Belize. Whitfield Tower, 4792 Coney Dr., 1st fl., Northern Suburbs, Belize City, Belize District. 800/266–3822; 822/1062; 800/864–8331; www.united.com.
WestJet. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 888/937–8538; www.westjet.com.
International flights arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Ladyville, 9 miles (15 km) north of downtown Belize City. It's the world's only airport with a mahogany ceiling (it’s in the original terminal building). Small domestic airports are mostly just landing strips with a one-room check-in. These Belize domestic airports include Belize City municipal (TZA), Belmopan (BCV), Corozal (CZH), Dangriga (DGA), Savannah (SVH), Placencia (PLJ), Punta Gorda (PND), Orange Walk Town (ORZ), San Pedro (SPR), Caye Caulker (CUK), Maya Flats near San Ignacio (MYF), and Sarteneja (SJX). An airstrip near Hopkins has been proposed, but as of this writing it has not received government approval. With the exception of the San Pedro airport, which has nighttime lighting, all the domestic airstrips operate only during daylight hours.
The future of a controversial, privately funded international airport near the north end of the Placencia Peninsula is unclear. As of this writing, construction work has stopped and the airport and landing strip remain unfinished. The current Belize government has also announced plans to build an international airport on North Ambergris Caye, but no time line has been given.
Philip Goldson International Airport has security precautions similar to those in the United States; the domestic airstrips have limited security systems, but there has never been an airline hijacking in Belize. For international flights, arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure; for domestic flights, about half an hour. For connections from international flights to domestic flights, allow 45 minutes. In Belize, domestic airlines with more passengers than seats sometimes simply add another flight.
A new visitor identification system including fingerprint scanners was introduced in 2013 by Belize immigration at Philip S. W. Goldson, paid for in part by the United States. The government is expanding this system for use at all land and sea arrival points to Belize. The new system includes computer workstations, webcams, and passport readers. It is managed through a central server at Immigration headquarters in Belmopan. U.S. PreCheck status doesn't apply in Belize.
Belize Municipal Airstrip (TZE). On seafront off Princess Margaret Dr., Belize City Municipal Airstrip, Marine Parade Harbor Front, Belize City, Belize District.
Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE). 9 miles (15 km) north of Belize City center, off Philip Goldson Hwy., Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 225/2045; www.pgiabelize.com.