. Tamarindo News Staff . Photo courtesy Casa Presidencial
• New Liberia-Denver and Liberia-Mexico City flights to begin operating in 2017
• New and upgraded radar systems to be in – stalled at the country’s international airports
The work to expand Daniel Oduber International Airport will begin in January 2017.The project is scheduled for comple – tion by next November. César Jaramillo, General Manager of the Interamerican Investment Corporation (CORIPORT), the concessionaires in charge of the administration of the terminal, con – firmed that using an investment of $10.3 mil – lion, the new facilities will have the capacity to receive passengers until 2023. Jaramillo said that, taking into account recent calculations, it can be confirmed that during 2016, 35% more visitors were re – ceived through this port than in 2015.
If this figure is compared with data from 2012, the number of visitors that arrived at this airport has risen by 86%. To make airport wait time more enjoy – able, users will soon have more boarding gates, better baggage drop-off counters and new VIP lounges with large windows that offer spectacular views to the mountains and volcanos of Guanacaste on the second floor.
From another location, the landing strip will be in view. “Liberia airport is B-category one, con – sidered to be of a very high standard. It has wide and comfortable areas, short check-in times, and an important variety of shops. The board is working to continue offering a firstclass service for travelers and to provide our visitors an enjoyable experience, even while they are waiting for their flights,” explained Jaramillo.
Authorities expect that the improvements will also allow the terminal to receive five more airlines in the coming years. In fact, Jaramillo said that the Liberia-Denver (US) and Liberia- Mexico City non-stop flights are scheduled to begin operating next year.
“Previously, the airport was limited in its ability to take in more visitors to the region, but now we will provide first-class service and infrastructure that will complement the offering of a variety of first-world hotels and package tours,” Jaramillo added.
According to a survey conducted by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) in 2015, during which 1,500 tourists were inter – viewed, 98.5% of travelers who entered the country through Liberia came for tourism, pleasure or recreation; 4% of visitors had previously been in Costa Rica and wanted to come back; the ones who returned had visited the country five times, spent ap – proximately $835 or more, and more than half of them traveled as a couple.
CATURGUA promotes new flights to Liberia The Chamber of Tourism of Guanacaste (CATURGUA) is promoting new non-stop flights from Moscow to the Daniel Oduber International Airport.
Currently, there are no direct flights between Costa Rica and Russia. The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the General Agency on Migra – tion and Foreigners (DGME) stated that the number of Russian visitors to Costa Rica has increased over the past few years.
December, January and February are the months when a greater amount of Russian tourists visit Costa Rica, given the hard winters in their country. Russian visitors have to stop over in many European countries, Cuba or the United States to get to Costa Rica.
The ICT highlighted the importance of having eliminated the visa requirement for citizens of the Russian Federation. Studies for the new international airport to be concluded in 2017 The boost to build a new international airport in Costa Rica has been talked about by the authorities for many years.
There – fore, site studies, design and a masterplan are being developed.
According to the Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Public Works and Transporta – tion (MOPT) authorities, it is expected that by the middle of next year, the Brit – ish firm Mott MacDonald will deliver the conceptual design of the future terminal, runway locations, and other aeronautical infrastructures, as well as an inventory of the international investment community for possible funding options for the con – struction.
Currently, the European company is conducting well advanced technical, oper – ational, constructive, financial, social, me – teorological and environmental analyses in terms of aeronautics, among other studies.
Orotina, Alajuela is the possible location for the new international airport, which would replace Juan Santamaría in Ala – juela, according to a group of Korean experts who developed a Seminar on Airport Infrastructure and Korea-Costa Rica Cooperation in the country.
Hernando Kim, Senior Manager of Incheon Airport Trade Division, and one of the experts of the aeronautical delegation that cooperates with local authorities on the aviation issue, said that Costa Rica will be able to survive regional competition by developing a new airport, such as the one it plans to build in Orotina.
According to Kim, Korea and Costa Rica are two geographically small coun – tries that are competing with neighboring countries in a very demanding market.
That is why he recommends their experience and success in a very complex and changing field. Incheon International Airport, the largest airport in South Korea and one of the most important in Asia, was built to replace the old Seoul Airport.
Currently, Incheon is the world´s fifth largest cargo airport. “For 10 consecutive years, we have been number one in efficiency and safety,” Kim said.
New radar equipment for international airports 2017 brings more good news for Costa Rican international airports.
Beginning the second half of the year, a modernization project begins with new radar and sophisticated equipment to be added. The implementation of these improvements will be overseen and supervised by the Civil Aviation Management, accord – ing to Carlos Villalta Villegas, Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT).
The estimated investment for the airports´ improvements will be $20 million. The Central American Aerial Navigation Corporation (COCESNA) will invest $13 million in new radar equipment, which will be in operation during the second half of the year.
For his part, Ennio Cubillo, Director of Civil Aviation, highlighted that the bidding is underway to get ready to implement, in 2017, a program of modernization in air – ports at Jiménez, Golfito, Drake and Que – pos, given that these locations are of major interest to tourists.