Maracaibo's Grano de Oro Airport

 

Oster Bayne has kindly provided this interesting excerpt about the beginning of the Grano de Oro airport. It's taken from the extensive memoirs written by his late father, Oster Bayne (Sr.).

Grano de Oro was significant because the airport was so familiar to each of us. It served as the gateway to a new life in a new land. It was the doorway to our past when we used it to go back home on Home Leave, or into new lands and cultures when we used it for vacations to other countries. It was the magic carpet that brought friends and loved ones to Venezuela to see us. And it served as the door that closed behind us as we moved towards another new life when we left Venezuela for the last time years later.

 

"Maracaibo International Airport"


“In the mid 1930s or thereabouts, the government built an airport in the area of El Paraíso, near the Country Club. The Administrative or Terminal building was very small, also the hangers soon out-served their purpose for that period.

“In the early 1940s the airport was extended, taking in quite a large area of the surrounding lands and new runways were built and the old ones extended, where necessary. Later, in the late 1940s as I recall, new hangers were built as well as a beautiful administrative building or Terminal, with navigational control tower, lovely lounges and up to date bar all nicely decorated with paintings, drapes and modern furniture. To my mind it was the most modern airport in Venezuela at that time. Some might say that Maiquetia was, but I don't think so. The road to the airport was widened and nicely asphalted and was a pleasure to drive on and became a regular destinations for outing on Sunday afternoons.

“Just about that time the Army Headquarters was moved from the city where it had been located on Plaza Sucre to a site in close proximity to the airport Terminal. It also was a fine building with all modern conveniences, including parade grounds and with good roads leading to the military complex. The approach roads to the airport and Military complex were wide, properly asphalted and had, for beautification, islands with shrubs and various flowering trees planted and all well kept. This was really a great improvement to the city of Maracaibo giving a great first impression to new arrivals.”