Safety Fears Prompt $1.2bn Airport Face Lift

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An overcrowded airport is about to have a $1.2 billion face lift to bring the facilities for passengers into the 21stcentury.

Safety fears at check-in desks, immigration halls and boarding gates are among the reasons why the government wants to step up expansion plans for Jorge Chavez International Lima Airport, Peru.

Airlines also have recurring complaints about arrival and departure delays at the airport due to queueing for slots to use the solitary runway.

The massive upgrade will see a new runway and terminal to relieve congestion and to provide extra slots for airlines.

In 2017, the airport handled 20 million passengers and 308,000 tons of freight, but the facilities were designed to safely deal with 15 million passengers.

Passenger numbers have doubled in a decade.

Huge overhaul of facilities

Planned construction at Jorge Chavez International, will add a new control tower, better facilities for airlines and passengers and an upgraded highway linking the airport with Lima to relieve traffic.

The work is expected to take four years to complete, although a new metro link with the capital should open during in 2019.

The upgrade will include more room for freight handling and a base for the Peruvian air force to keep eight aircraft.

Besides safety issues, the government was also under intense pressure to expand the airport to offer more slots to airlines desperate to grow their businesses.

Eduardo Fairen, CEO of airline VivaPeru blames overcrowding at the airport for holding back the company’s expansion.

Plans for regional hub

“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.

Now, the government is giving airlines what they want and hopes Jorge Chavez Airport will develop into a major regional hub.

The airport opened in 1965 and  has seen various stages of development to expand services, the latest was adding an extension to the passenger terminal and a hub for cargo in 2009.

Currently, more than 40 airlines operate flights out of Jorge Chavez International Airport, mainly to South American destinations. Another 15 cargo services are also based at the airport.

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