Translation:Is this the international airport?
You are right, of course, if we want to say 'this place' explicitly. I think what Patrick and I were trying to say is that there is a difference between 这 & 这里, whether or not it always needs to be reflected in an English translation. Though 这里 can usually be translated as 'here,' in most cases, using 'here' as the subject of a sentence is problematic. 'Here is the airport,' is usually regarded as a kind of inversion of 'the airport is here,' with the subject being 'airport.' Such a flipping of the subject in Chinese would require a different verb: 机场在这里. The easiest way to make 'here' the subject, would be to say 'this place.'
Furthermore, for me, whereas 'here' or 'this place' are explicit, deictic (situationally based) references to a location, 'this' can be either anaphoric (referring to something already mentioned) or deictic (pointing out something in the situation), but refers basically to an object or concept and not directly to a place.
Surely, 'is this a book' does not refer to a place. So for me, 'Is this an/the ... airport, is simply asking 'what is this thing that I have made reference to using "this" .' Any reference to a place, is simply a consequence of our understanding that large structures, parking lots, etc. don't generally move around.
The sentence is wrong.
The sentence and the pronunciation is not connected. It says 這裡是國際機場啊. The translation would be "Oh, I see. Here is the international airport. It means you don't know here is international airport until now.
As your answer, here or this place should be accepted.
I wondered if I should say 'this place' too to try to capture the difference in Chinese between 这里 and 这, given that we can't start a question in English with 'Is here ...?'. In the end, I went with the more common 'Is this,' at least half expecting to have it rejected. Your suggestion should definitely be added to the acceptable list.