San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Juan Santamaría Anticipates a Runway Approach Lights Soon

New approach lights for airplanes arriving at JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport could be ready by February 2009, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The proposed project would illuminate a 900-meter-long swath of land that leads up to the primary runway of Costa Rica’s largest airport, located in Alajuela, northwest of San José, and would provide guidance to planes flying in low visibility weather. The existing approach lights have not functioned since 2004, reducing safety during storms and fog. Some flights in recent years have had to be rerouted or canceled as a result.

“The lighting system would complement planes’ instrument landing systems,” said Jorge Fernández, general director of the Civil Aviation Authority.

The project would cost $1.5 million and would include a service road and protective netting for the lights. The aviation authority is revising the bid proposed by Siemens Energy and Automation to install the system.

In previous years, the government had trouble securing the private land for the approach lights. In the last year, however, the government has successfully expropriated 80 percent of the needed land, and Fernández is confident that the rest of the land will be expropriated soon.

–Devon Magee


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