Airport Set For Take-Off With US$1.2bn Upgrade

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Written By Mostafa Moradi

A major South American airport is getting for take-off with a US$1.2 billion expansion.

Jorge Chavez International Airport is Peru’s largest and busiest destination with 20 million passengers and 308 ,000 tons of freight passing through in 2017.

Although passenger numbers have doubled in a decade, the airport has struggled to cope with flights squeezed on to a single runway and terminal.

Now, the company operating the airport, Lima Airport Partners (LAP), has secured enough land from the government to add a second terminal and a new runway.

Expansion plans will see the airport more than quadruple in size to 9 million square metres with facilities to handle an extra 10 million passengers.

The airport is recognised as operating at over capacity. The facilities were designed to handle a maximum of 15 million passengers a year.

Overcrowded terminal and runway

Operators say check-in desks and gates fail to meet best-practise standards and choked aprons and runways trigger regular arrival and departure delays for airlines.

LAP also hopes to make Lima a regional hub, not only for flights within Latin America, but to the US and Europe.

Eduardo Fairen, CEO of airline VivaPeru blames overcrowding at the airport for holding back business growth.

“If we don’t keep growing it’s because the airport does not allow us to take up extra slots,” he said in a recent interview.

Jorge Chavez Airport serves the Peru capital Lima as the country’s major international airport.

Named after famed Peruvian aviator Jorge Chavez Dartnell, the airport opened in June 1965.

Major construction plans

The first phase of redevelopment started in 2005, with the building of a shopping centre and passenger plaza. This was followed in 2007 by the opening of a new Ramada hotel.

Two years later, the terminal expanded in a bid to keep up with growing passenger numbers.

Besides a new terminal runway, the planned construction will add a new control tower, better facilities for airlines and passengers and an upgraded highway linking the airport with Lima.

The work is expected to take four years to complete.

A metro link with the capital is slated to open in 2019.

Plans for Jorge Chavez Airport also include extra space for the Peruvian air force as a base for eight aircraft.