San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers, officials push for 2 new airports in Costa Rica

A group of residents in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, along with officials from the Civil Aviation Administration, on Friday presented environmental impact studies for the construction of a new international airport in that area, known as the Brunca International Airport.

The Environment Ministry’s National Technical Secretariat now must analyze the studies and hold public hearings before giving the green light to move forward on the project. 

According to the report, one of the most importants steps to launch the airport project is the expropriation of two former banana plantations in Palmar Sur, which currently belong to two government agencies, the Agrarian Development Institute and the National Institute for Cooperative Development.

Both properties are occupied by some 100 families who would have to be relocated, the report states.

The idea of building a major airport in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone was first proposed during the administration of President Abel Pacheco (2002-2006).

Another airport in the Northern Zone?

At the beginning of her term in 2010, Libertarian Movement lawmaker Mireya Zamora presented a bill in the Legislative Assembly to build an airport in the Northern Zone canton of San Carlos, Alajuela.  

Last week, Civil Aviation Administration Technical Council President Ana Cristina Jenkins appeared before an Assembly commission to promote the bill, saying that the Civil Aviation Administration’s budget is limited because it is funded only by taxes collected at international terminals in Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, and Daniel Oduber International Airport in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

Jenkins said Zamora’s bill, No. 17,937, would provide funding for environmental impact studies, wind studies and land expropriation, among other costs.

A study by the Civil Aviation Administration concluded that the ideal location for a new airport would be between the communities of Muelle and Altamira, where plans also exist for the construction of an industrial park.

According to Zamora, either of the two proposed sites would help boost exports of agricultural products and increase tourism in the northern region of the country.

If approved, the government would have up to 10 years to build and launch operations at the new northern airport.

Contact L. Arias at

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