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Tourism Growth Fuels Multiple Airport Expansions

Article Summary:

Guatemala has announced its plans to build three new airports and give international status to two other domestic airports to increase tourism connectivity and provide a shipping hub for international air freight.

Photo Credit: Prensa Libre

Original Article Text From El Periodico via Google Translate :

DGCA has Plan to Build Three International Airports

The Pronacom should define the legal model to raise U.S. $ 340 million investment to build the terminals of the Port of San Jose, Puerto Barriosand Retalhuleu.

President Otto Perez already has their hands on the plan prepared by Armando Asturias, Comptroller of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to build a new airport in Retalhuleu and transform the terminal in the Port of San José, Escuintla, and Puerto Barrios, Izabal, in two international airports category.

The plan was presented on Sunday the president, who asked Asturias continue the project could start from the first quarter of 2013.

According Asturias, the project to have three new international airport, next to La Aurora and Mundo Maya in Peten, is part of its work plan since taking office in January.

He explained that the idea is to have a transcontinental cargo airport in the port of San Jose, which will become an alternative to operating in Aurora and, when it reaches full capacity within a few years, is the country’s largest. The project includes the extension of the runway, giving it lights for night operations, a terminal, construction of industrial parks, loading and unloading area of ​​goods and BUILD two highway sections to connect with the Puerto Quetzal.

This project has interested giants like DHL, the world’s largest cargo airline in the world, as well as Chile’s LAN-Cargo.

Asturias stressed the need to expand the airport facilities in the country as it is negotiating with airlines in Brazil, Canada, Turkey and Italy, flights to be incorporated within the next two years.

Besides The Aurora has several limitations, such as population density in the city is more than 1,500 meters above sea level and is only 3 kilometers of track, which makes the landing of large aircraft.

“The aircraft as an Airbus 340, Iberia, which comes with 335 passengers can not go full of cargo and fuel to Spain, then lands in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama have airports that if those capabilities,” the controller.

Port and industrial parks
The airport of Puerto de San José has a runway of 2.1 km long, which would be extended up to 3.5 kilometers, will also have fuel station, fire station, and will build a 11-kilometer stretch of highway that will connect with the facilities of Puerto Quetzal.

The project would cost approximately $ 80 million and half would be funded by the private sector to build the terminal for loading and unloading, Asturias said.

In addition there is a sufficient area for the creation of industrial parks, being the place for the installation of automotive assembly companies. “The heavier parts could come by sea and air lighter,” said the official.

Central Connection
Puerto Barrios Airport is located near Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla, and already has a track of 2.7 km concrete flexible. However, this development will depend on the cruise terminal that is to be installed in the vicinity of the port.

“It would be a basic terminal (for tourism) would use American flights. We must build a new road stretch of five kilometers that surrounds Puerto Barrios to connect directly to St. Thomas to the airport, “said Asturias.

This case represents an initial investment of $ 5 million, if the cargo terminal building cost would rise to $ 10 million. The investment would be made between 2013 and 2014 to begin operations in 2015.

To the capital of the world
From November, the airline TACA flight to enable a Retalhuleu, from El Salvador. According Asturias, the idea is to assess how profitable it would build a new airport because the current track has several limitations such as being close to the Santiaguito volcano and an area of ​​thunderstorms.

“It is not feasible to proceed with this airport. If flights are profitable for him in 2014 will begin the search for financing to build a new one to the south (near Champerico), but have not yet located the ground, “he said.

The investment would be U.S. $ 250 million, a figure that could vary depending on the interest of the private sector to invest in this project.

How do you fund?
Asturias explains that the work will start from the first quarter of next year, however, already started with changing lights on the tracks and the implementation of new equipment in the control towers.

The public-private investment is expected to exceed U.S. $ 340 million (about Q2.7 billion) in the three terminals.

The Government does not have the resources for the construction of new airports, so the model is analyzed legal (lease, concession, lease, joint venture or a public-private partnership) to be used to attract private investment to the project.

Juan Carlos Paiz, Presidential Commissioner for Competitiveness, said the government has the political will to start the project, however, is pending define the legal basis under which they work.

“We do not know if we will do through concessions or pledges. We must also seek funding. Still no bidders and do not know who could execute a project of this magnitude, “said Paiz.

However, Asturias is more optimistic and confident that before the end of this year will receive the results of an analysis by the World Bank (WB), which could also help with funding, and the domestic private sector and international interest.

Link to Original Article:

From El Periodico

Latin America Investment News on Viva Tropical