San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Houston Airport System assumes control of Juan Santamaría

The Houston Airport System (HAS) officially assumed managerial control this week of Costa Rica´s Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, west of San José.

The Technical Council of Civil Aviation (CTAC) validated documents to transfer control from Alterra Partners, the former airport terminal manager, to HAS. The change in administration was authorized on May 28, though an addendum to the contract, which extended the administrative control of HAS from 20 to 25 years, held up the finalization of the contract for an additional seven weeks.

Alterra has operated the airport since May 5, 2001.

HAS, which is the fourth largest airport operator in the U.S. and the sixth largest in the world, will assume a 51 percent controlling share of the airport. Andrade Gutierrez S.A. (a Brazilian and Central American construction company) and Canadian company Airport Development Corporation share the remaining controlling interest.

In a Monday afternoon press conference at the airport, Transport Minister Karla González gave details of the plans. Though Alterra Partners will assist in the transfer of operations over the next two months, HAS will begin expansion and remodeling projects immediately. HAS aims to construct a small addition in front of the airport that will serve as an immigration terminal. The addition is planned to be completed by May 31, 2010. HAS also intends to add four boarding gates to the central terminal by July 1, 2010.

Tom Bartlett, chief operating officer and deputy director of aviation for operations services at HAS, has been named the operations manager at Juan Santamaría and will work with Alterra Partners over the next two months as he transitions into the role.

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