Juan Santamaría International Airport

Juan Santamaría International Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Juan Santamaría International Airport

image-width = 250
type = Public
owner = Government of Costa Rica
operator = Alterra Partners Costa Rica
city-served = San José, Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Heredia, Costa Rica
elevation-f = 3,021
elevation-m = 921
coordinates = coord|09|59|37|N|84|12|31|W|type:airport
website =
metric-elev =
metric-rwy =
r1-number = 07/25
r1-length-f = 9,881
r1-length-m = 3,012
r1-surface = Asphalt

Juan Santamaría International Airport ( _es. Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría) airport codes|SJO|MROC is located in Alajuela about 20 km from San José, Costa Rica. It is named after Costa Rica's National Hero Juan Santamaría, a courageous drummer boy who died in 1856 defending his country against forces led by US-American filibuster William Walker. The airport, which is Costa Rica's primary airport, serves a great number of tourists from Canada, Europe and the United States. There are three other international airports in the country but only the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste is served by major airlines.

The airport serves as a hub for TACA/Lacsa for its international network and for TACA's subsidiary Sansa for its domestic network.

The airport's long runway allows for operations of large, widebody aircraft. The most common are A300, A310, A340, Boeing 767, and Boeing 747. A Concorde landed in year 1999 for that year's airshow.

The airport has a small NASA hangar where they keep research aircraft that operate in Costa Rica.Fact|date=November 2007 Among the most relevant aircraft operated form this hangar is the WB-57F high altitude aircraft.

The airport has the usual assortment of duty-free shops. Unlike most other airports, arriving foreigners can purchase goods to bring back into Costa Rica. It also has a food court that includes some fast-food restaurants.

Juan Santamaria charges a $26 USD departure tax which can be paid in cash (U.S. dollars or Costa Rican colones) or by making a Visa card cash advance.


The airport has 10 gates 8 of them with jetways. 8 new boarding rooms were built so now the airport is capable of housing 17 commercial airplanes at the same time. There are 3 waiting rooms built on the first floor of the airport, next to the V.I.P room, for regional flights.

Terminal Statistics

International Parking Positions

*Jetways: 8
*No Jetway: 1

Regional Parking Positions

*No Jetway: 6

Ground Transportation

There is a bus stop outside the airport. The Alajuela - San José route buses stop there in both directions. Buses from other routes also stop there.

Taxis are available, there are also some unlicensed taxis charging considerably more, and some charging considerably less. Taxis will generally accept both colones and U.S. dollars, but not other currencies. Licensed taxis are red with yellow triangles on the doors, additionally there is an airport taxi service that is licenced and employs orange taxis- their rates are significantly higher than that of the non-airport taxis.

There is an ATM available at the baggage claim area (VISA, MasterCard) and another in the second level by the curbside of the entrance to departures (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) that dispenses colones and US dollars.

*Costa Rica Executive Transportation [http://www.costaricanexecutivetransportation.com] Providing Airport Transportation to anywhere in Costa Rica. Meet and greet services, airport transfers for all travelers to Costa Rica.

Airlines and destinations

Terminal 1

The major operator in the airport is TACA/LACSA, followed by Copa Airlines and American Airlines. The following airlines have scheduled services to Juan Santamaría International Airport as of June 2007. :

*AeroRepublica (Bogotá, Medellin) (Starts December 2008)
*Air Canada (Toronto-Pearson)
*Air Caraibes (Pointe-à-Pitre, Panama city)
*Air Comet (Madrid) [Resumes May, 2009]
*Air Panama (David)
*Air Transat (Montreal, Toronto-Pearson) [seasonal]
*American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Miami)
**Avianca Operated by SAM (Bogotá)
*Condor Airlines (Frankfurt)
*Continental Airlines (Houston-Intercontinental, Newark)
*Copa Airlines (Guatemala City, Managua, Panama City, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa)
*Cubana de Aviación (Guatemala City, Havana)
*Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, New York-JFK)
*Frontier Airlines (Denver)
*Iberia (Madrid)
*Martinair (Miami, Orlando)
*Mexicana (Mexico City, Panama City, Guatemala City)
*Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale)
*TACA (Guatemala City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, San Pedro Sula)
**TACA Operated by Lacsa (Bogotá, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Caracas, Guayaquil, Havana, Managua, New York-JFK, Panama City, Quito, San Salvador, Santo Domingo)
**TACA Operated by TACA Peru (Lima)
*US Airways (Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix)

Charter airlines

*Aeroméxico (Mexico City)
*Aladia (Cancún)
*TACA operated by Lacsa (Cancún, Medellin, San Andres Island, San Juan (PR)) [scheduled charters]
*Pace Airlines (San Juan)

Cargo airlines

*ABX Air
*Air Transport International
*American Airlines
*Arrow Cargo
*Atlas Air
*Florida West International Airways
*Gemini Air Cargo
*Grupo Taca
*Iberia Airlines
*LAN Chile Cargo
*Lineas Aereas Suramericanas
*Martinair Cargo
*Polar Air Cargo
*Southern Air

New infrastructure

Since 1997, a project to expand and renovate Juan Santamaria International airport was initiated. The project has been on the public spotlight, under allegations of private enterprise inefficiency. The airport has been operated by Alterra Partners since 2001 as part of a plan to improve the airport by the Costa Rican government. As of December of 2008, Houston Airport System Development Company (HASDC), will take over the administration from Alterra Partners.

In 2002-2003 they made major changes to the old terminal because it was not capable of handling the rapidly-increasing number of passengers and airlines, and demolished the old control tower and built a new one with a design matching that of the new terminal. Once HASDC takes over the administration, it has a 12-month deadline to complete the airport remodeling, which Alterra Partners failed to complete.

A new Sansa (regional airline operated by Grupo TACA) terminal will be built in the year 2008, with a total cost of 250,000 dollars.

New airlines and new routes

*TACA operated by Sansa new international flights to David, Panama.
*Aerorepublica was authorized by Colombian aeronautical entity to start flights to San Jose. It's intentions are to have a daily flight to Bogota and a Monday-Saturday flight to Panama City.

External links

* [http://www.alterra.co.cr/fiws Flight Information]
* [http://www.dgac.go.cr/ Dirección General de Aviacion Civil de Costa Rica] Costa Rican Aviation Authority
* [http://www.alterra.co.cr Alterra Partners] (official airport site, in Spanish)

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