Augusto C. Sandino International Airport
|Augusto César Sandino International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto C. Sandino
|IATA: MGA – ICAO: MNMG
|Airport type||Public and Military|
|Owner||Republica de Nicaragua|
|Operator||EAAI (Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales)|
|Elevation AMSL||59 m / 194 ft|
Augusto César Sandino International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto César Sandino) (IATA: MGA, ICAO: MNMG) or ACS is the main airport in Managua, Nicaragua. Named as Las Mercedes Airport in 1968 it was later renamed Augusto César Sandino International Airport during the Sandinista regime in the 1980s and again in 2001 to Managua International Airport by then president Arnoldo Alemán. Its name was changed once more in February 2007 to its current name by President Daniel Ortega in honor of Nicaragua's national hero, Augusto César Sandino.
The runway at the airport is 10,032 ft long (2013), and it is located at an elevation of 194 feet. With 1.1 million passengers per year, ACS is currently the fourth busiest airport by passenger traffic in Central America and it also serves as a hub for the Panamanian airline Copa Airlines.
Before ACS, there was the old Xolotlan Airport, about 2 miles east of Managua, built in 1915 which very soon became too small for Managua's airline service growth. Thus, on January 22, 1942, the Nicaraguan Government and Pan American Airways signed a contract to construct an airport by Las Mercedes Country Estate which inspired the name for Las Mercedes Airport. Las Mercedes was further upgraded, re-designed to handle Boeing 707 aircraft, and re-inaugurated on July 4, 1968 by Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
In the early 1970s, Las Mercedes was expanded to more modern standards, such as four health inspectors, eight immigration officers and ten customs inspectors. It was considered fully equipped, having air conditioning, background music, loudspeakers and conveyor belts for baggage handling. It also had a restaurant on its upper floor where visitors and travelers could see airport movement.
The expanded airport could serve three aircraft at once and by 1975 Lanica, the Airline of Nicaragua, as well as Taca, Sahsa, Avianca, Iberia, Pan Am, KLM, SAM, Varig, and smaller local carriers, flew into Las Mercedes. When the Sandinistas took power, the airport was named after Augusto César Sandino, a Nicaraguan revolutionary and guerrilla leader, after whom the Sandinista movement is named. The Sandinistas however did not maintain the airport, and it began to deteriorate until it was expanded and remodeled in 1996, when, among other things, two new boarding bridges were installed. The airport was renamed "Managua International Airport" in 2001 by then President Arnoldo Aleman and renamed again in 2007 to its current name by President Daniel Ortega.
Las Mercedes served for a very long time as a hub for Nicaragua's flag carriers Lanica (until 1978), Aeronica from 1979 to the 80's and NICA afterwards. When NICA became a member of Grupo TACA during the 1990s, the number of important connections to the rest of Latin America from which ACS grew considerably.
According to EAAI (Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales) ACS is the most modern airport in Central America and the 4th safest in the world. It is located just 11 km (7 mi) from Managua's downtown, has a runway which measures 8,015 ft (2,443 m) in length and is at an elevation of 194 ft (59 m).
Embraer 190s, Airbus A300, Airbus A310, Airbus A320 Airbus A330, Airbus 340 Boeing 737s, Boeing 747s, Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, Lockheed L-1011 Tristars and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s can land at the airport.
A large expansion programme was underway by 2003 and as of July 2006 the final phase was completed with 11 gates equipped with jetways, and room for 20 airplanes to park. Currently the runway is also being expanded by 800 m (2,625 ft). In 2011 due to greater increase in tourism, the runway was expanded even more to 3.300m.
About 360 individuals are employed at the airport. Facilities within the airport include a tourist information desk, bank, restaurants, bars, post office, souvenir shops, duty-free shops, lounges and more. To make use of the VIP lounge there are five rate options: Normal, Corporate, Affiliated Credit Cards, Minors and Infants. The types of services in the VIP lounge include checking baggage and documents with customs and immigration plus the airline; a bar service; snacks etc.
Airlines and destinations
|Aero Caribbean||Havana, San Pedro Sula|
|Air Transat||Seasonal: Montréal-Trudeau|
|Avianca||San Salvador, Miami, San José (CR)|
|Avianca Nicaragua||Bluefields, Bonanza, Corn Island, Greytown, La Poloma, Puerto Cabezas, Rio San Juan, Rosita, San Carlos, Siuna, Tegucigalpa, Waspam|
|Conviasa||Caracas, Panama City|
|Copa Airlines||Guatemala City, Panama City, San José (CR)|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Nature Air||San José (CR)|
|Spirit Airlines||Fort Lauderdale|
Incidents and accidents
- On March 5, 1959, Vickers Viscount YS-09C of TACA International Airlines crashed shortly after take-off from Managua Airport when both port engines failed. Fifteen of the 19 people on board were killed.
- On February 15, 1974, a Douglas DC-3 of APSA was damaged beyond economic repair when it crash-landed at Managua Airport.
- On June 5, 2006 a McDonnell Douglas DC10-10F (registered N68047) en route Miami - Managua touched down hard at Managua and was unable to stop before the end of the runway. The aircraft overran by about 300 meters, the nose gear collapsed causing substantial damage to the engines as well as a possible fuel rupture in the wing.
- On July 24, 2007 a Boeing 737-700, Continental flight 876, with 120 passengers and a crew of 6 flying from Panama City to Houston had to land in the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport because one of the internal security windows suffered a rupture.
- On Sep 22nd 2012, A TACA Airlines Airbus A321-200 flight TA-396, registration N564TA from Managua (Nicaragua) to Miami International Airport Miami, Florida (US), rejected takeoff from Managua at high speed after an engine (V2533) ingested a bird. The aircraft slowed safely and returned to the apron. A passenger reported they were told a bird strike had disabled one of the engines, resulting in the takeoff being rejected at high speed. The engine needed to be replaced.
- On October 11, 2013 a TACA Airbus A-320 (registration N492TA) declared an emergency due to smoke in the cockpit. The aircraft was en route from Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima Peru to El Salvador International Airport San Salvador El Salvador, it made a successful emergency landing. 
- Velásquez SevillaMi, Mirna. "Aeropuerto vuelve a ser Sandino". La Prensa (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Aeropuerto Internacional "Augusto C. Sandino"" (PDF) (in Spanish). EAAI. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-02-14.[dead link]
- Westcott, Kathryn (2006-05-22). "Flying from where?; Cultural Heritage". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "History". EAAI. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Managua International Airport". Airplanes.com. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Technical Information". EAAI. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Projects in Progress". EAAI. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "VIP Lounge". EAAI. Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- Romero, Elízabeth. "Alarma en el aeropuerto". La Prensa (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- Flores Valle, Alejandro. "Avión aterriza de emergencia". La Prensa (in Spanish). Retrieved 2007-10-26.