San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Airport Expands to Meet Projected Long-Term Growth

Juan SantamaríaInternationalAirport’s new operator announced this week the completion of several expansion works as well as plans to continue improving the airport’s terminal and other facilities.

The operator, Aeris, is a conglomerate of Canada’s Airport Development Corporation, the U.S.-based Houston Airport System Development Corporation and Brazil’s Andrade Gutierrez Concessôes.

To date, Aeris has completed long-awaited works such as doubling the immigration lanes in the arrival area from 14 to 28, finishing the departures hall, and adding a new security area that doubles the capacity of the previous facility. The immigration area where exit documents are reviewed has also been expanded.

The new construction also includes a diplomatic hall, a new boarding area, a new boarding ramp, a mechanical support building, completion of the new east terminal, and an electrical substation.

In an e-mail communication to The Tico Times, an Aeris spokeswoman said, “For the July vacations, we have increased the number of check-in counters from 58 to 78, which will speed up check-ins.”

The expansion’s second phase, be finished no later than Dec. 31, includes two additional boarding areas with ramps, a remote hall, and taxi ramps for two planes. However, the spokeswoman said they are “hoping to finish by the beginning of the 2010-2011 high season, somewhere between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15.”

Aeris estimated the cost of the work finished in April at $30 million, and that of the additional work to be completed by the end of this year at $10 million.

Two additional expansion phases are in final discussions and the plans for these will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Technical Council (CETAC) by Aug. 31, according to Aeris.

Preliminary conclusions show that if all four planned expansion phases are completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle the increased demand and passengers from now until 2029, when AERIS estimates that 12 million passengers per year will pass through the airport. The projection is based on an annual estimated growth rate of 5.2 percent.

–Sophia Klempner


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