Airport Project Continues with President’s Support

  • by Bret G. Dudl
  • 20.10.10
  • 10:15 AM UTC

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla’s recent remarks have breathed new life into an ongoing aviation project in Costa Rica’s southern zone.

Although the development of the southern zone airport has involved more studies and surveys than actual construction work to date, Ms. Chinchilla’s recent declaration that it should be designated as “in the public interest” has provided important assistance that will keep the project on track.

The president’s remarks, which also hailed the airport project’s ability to fight poverty and create jobs, mean that the effort should be given a high priority that will help it clear some previously daunting governmental hurdles. Plans call for the basic structure of the proposed international airport to be built starting in 2012.

To date, environmental studies and plans undertaken for the $35 million project have completed much of the required groundwork. For example, archaeological surveys have verified that the land selected for the airport is free of important sites and artifacts, including pre-Columbian stone spheres. However, more surveys are still ongoing, and more reports are expected before construction work is allowed to begin in earnest.

The Costa Rican tourism industry is pressing to move forward with the airport project, and real estate developers have expressed their support as well. The development of an international airport in the region would be a boon to those sectors of the economy. Current plans include a runway that could be up to 8,500 feet long, to be built on Fincas 9 and 10 in Palmar Sur de Osa’s Valle de Diquis. Finco 9 is already owned by a public agency, the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo. Although the project has claimed enough land for key amenities including the passenger terminal and room for parking, the international airport is also going to require a control tower and a customs and immigration area. Two adjacent fincas may be purchased to support the airport’s future expansion.

According to officials, Funding for the airport will be provided by an allocation given to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes by the International Civil Aviation Organization, along with additional money provided by the Dirección General de Aviación Civil and the national budget.

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