Tamarindo Airport Needs Help

August 21, 2009

Tamarindo Airport

Tamarindo Airport

By: Tamarindo News

During the last Extraordinary Assembly of Guanacaste’s Chamber of Tourism (CATURGUA) Mauricio Céspedes, CATURGUA Executive Director, stated that Tamarindo airport was in danger of being closed by the Civil Aviation Authority. Given this possibility, The Tamarindo News requested information from the government to confirm or dismiss this news.

The airport is the only public access by air to Tamarindo and surrounding areas and it facilitates the arrival of tourists and business people. It is vital to the region. The answers to our questions helped us measure the pulse of the government’s intentions and gave us an idea about the condition of the landing strip.

Jorge Fernandez, Head of Civil Aviation and Gustavo González Trigo, Airport Coordinator, collaborated with us and stated, “The Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for supervising and observing the airports to meet the operating technical requirements.  In this case, we have inspected and found discrepancies that were notified to the operator. The corresponding corrections are expected. So far, no unsolvable discrepancies have been presented for a technical-operational shutting. As indicated, the airport is currently operating. Discrepancies in the condition of the landing strip are occurring because the asphalt on the runway and parking ramp is extremely degraded. This results in the constant repairing of holes. It would be desirable to undertake a major repair by replacing the asphaltic material, in order to correct this problem completely.

In relation to the building, access areas, security, and wind indicators, there are no major problems. There have been visits, meetings and presentations on current conditions and possible improvements that must be done on this airport with the airport managers, operators and owners. In 1974, Hacienda el Tempate submitted a letter of intent to donate land. Today, there is an agreement that has been approved by the Technical Board allowing Tamarindo Bay Development, owner of the property, to charge passengers for its use. This charge is three dollars per passenger. ”

For his part, Cesar Solis, Sansa General Manager, said: “Tamarindo landing strip was surfaced many years ago; the asphalt has been affected by the operation volume, the rain, the river near the airport that floods in September and October and forces us to suspend our services until it dries. These factors would affect the landing strip even if it were new. Grupo Diriá built a bridge to allow the cars to access the place when the river overflows and carries out the works every time there is a hole.”

Sansa’s Station Manager, Alvaro Padilla Fonseca, explained that the runway has been operating for 25 years, and emphatically said, “We continue using it because it does not represent any danger to our customers and aircrafts, so far. When flooded, we transfer our operation to Liberia, until it drains. ”

The Head of Civil Aviation said: “The Civil Aviation Authority and the Technical Board of Civil Aviation have recently made decisions and come into agreements with the objective of substantially improving this air destination, including the possibility of having the State invest in this Airport. A study is currently been conducted in order to recommend the actions that should be undertaken. “

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