Spirit inaugurated Honduras' new Palmerola Airport

Spirit inaugurated Honduras new Palmerola Airport

The American low-cost airline Spirit Airlines inaugurated last Saturday the new Palmerola International Airport in Comayagua, Honduras, replacing the international operation in the risky Toncontín, in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

By Alberto Lopez

At the same time, the Latin American companies Avianca and Copa Airlines joined, announcing the transfer of their international operation from Toncontín to the new terminal, despite the fact that it is more than an hour by car from Tegucigalpa.

"After six years of construction, Palmerola opens Saturday with a Spirit Airlines flight and $ 149 round-trip tickets to Miami and Houston. We will soon continue to announce the new low cost routes ", said in a message on Twitter the executive president of the Airport division of the Emco Group (operator in concession Palmerola), Lenir Pérez.

The first flight arrived in Palmerola around 1:26 p.m. the previous Saturday, from Houston, while the second, from Miami, arrived an hour later.

In addition, dozens of passengers soon arrived in Palmerola to buy low-cost tickets to Miami and Houston and to see the facilities of the new international airport, located in the central department of Comayagua. The new terminal was funded by Spain and leased to Emco, a partner at Munich Airport in Germany.

Work on Palmerola, an airport that has hosted a U.S. military base since the 1980s, was partially funded by Spain with $ 53 million in a debt-conversion program with Honduras, while the Honduran government contributed $ 23 million. million dollars, in addition to what was provided by Emco.

The new airport will operate 24 hours a day, with 11 boarding gates, four of which are remote, a runway of almost 2,500 meters and a terminal of approximately 39,000 square meters, according to Emco.

Copa and Avianca

Panama Airlines Copa Airlines will begin operations on December 15 at Palmerola International Airport.

"From this new airport, our passengers will continue to enjoy a pleasant and safe travel experience, allowing more airport staff to take advantage of the efficiency of the new facilities," said the Regional Sales Director for the Central America and the Caribbean Cup. , Karen Nanne.

Copa Airlines will maintain the same schedules and frequencies as its current operation in Toncontín. Flight CM720 leaves Panama City at 11:26 and arrives at Palmerola International Airport, which will serve Tegucigalpa at 12:22, while flight CM719 will return, departing at 13:52 and arriving in Panama at 4 : 50 pm. , every day of the week.

Avianca also confirmed the transfer of its activities to Palmerola, but one day after the Copa, on December 16.

"We are ready to serve our customers at the new airport, where we will be more efficient, with the most modern infrastructure and technologies that will allow us to optimize our service to passengers. Undoubtedly, this is an important contribution to the country's connectivity with the region, "said David Alemán, Avianca's director general for Central and South America.

The airline currently has daily flights to El Salvador and four weekly flights to Guatemala, which will continue to serve Tegucigalpa passengers from the new air terminal with improved facilities.

In this regard, the international airlines that operated at Toncontín Airport in Tegucigalpa, where the landing planes lose a few meters of runway, only 1,900 meters, due to a stabilized and safe braking, due to the difficulty of their approach at the southern end of which is located near a hilly area, has begun its transfer route to Palmerola, annexed to a legislative decree of the Honduran government and international aeronautical authorities.

Thus, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that starting with December 11, Palmerola was recognized as a new airport for the Tegucigalpa metropolitan area. By resolution 763, section 1.6.3, IATA agreed to confirm that Palmerola is the new airport in Tegucigalpa.

Palmerola was awarded in 2015 in the first term of President Juan Orlando Hernández (who will leave office on January 27), through a Public-Private Partnership and was awarded to the consortium of Emco and the international operator in Monaco, which invested approximately dollars . 87 million under contract for a period of 30 years.

The responsible consortium expects Palmerola to receive 1.7 million passengers a year, compared to 290,000 received by Toncontín in 2019.

For his part, Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro, who will take office in January, said he would review the Palmerola concession, saying he considered it illegal and considered it a monopoly.

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