Previously known as Boscobel Aerodrome, the airport was originally a limited service facility that processed about 20,000 passengers annually. Boscobel Aerodrome was in operation for over 30 years and had scheduled passenger service provided by local carriers such as Air Jamaica Express.
Renovations began in early 2009, and the total cost of construction was $300 million (JMD). The new airport was opened on January 12, 2011 by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who said that the intention of the airport was to handle small jets, international arrivals and to attract the high-end tourism market to Jamaica's north coast, including Ocho Rios, Oracabessa, and Port Antonio. Also present for the opening was Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy Fleming, and Goldeneye's current owner, Chris Blackwell.
Ian Fleming International Airport welcomed its first flight on Friday, May 7, 2010 (eight months prior to its official opening) when a single engine Pilatus PC-12 turbo prop flew in from the Bahamas with singer/songwriter and businessman, Jimmy Buffet, of "Margaritaville" fame, being the first international passenger to be processed by customs and immigration officers at the facility.