El Alto International Airport

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El Alto International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto
El Allto airport.jpg


LPB is located in Bolivia
Location of airport in Bolivia
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Abertis Airports
Serves La Paz, Bolivia
Location El Alto, Bolivia
Elevation AMSL 4,061.5 m / 13,325 ft
Coordinates 16°30′48″S 068°11′32″W / 16.51333°S 68.19222°W / -16.51333; -68.19222Coordinates: 16°30′48″S 068°11′32″W / 16.51333°S 68.19222°W / -16.51333; -68.19222
Website www.sabsa.aero/aeropuerto-el-alto/
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10R/28L 4,000 13,123 Asphalt
10L/28R 2,050 6,725 Grass
Statistics (2006)
Passengers 833,212
Source: SABSA,[1] Airport Statistics[2]

El Alto International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto) (IATA: LPBICAO: SLLP) is an international airport located 8 mi (13 km) south-west of La Paz, Bolivia.[3] It is the highest international airport and fifth highest commercial airport in the world.[4]

The airport is located in the city of El Alto[5] and has served since the first half of the 20th century, but was modernized in the late 1960s, when its runway was lengthened and a new passenger terminal with modern facilities was built. The new airport was inaugurated in 1965.[6] El Alto airport was a primary hub for the former Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano, Bolivia's flag carrier which ceased operations in 2007 and is a hub for Transporte Aéreo Militar.[7] It serves also as a focus city for Boliviana de Aviación which is a state owned airline.[8]


The Bolivian territory is characterized by extremely eventful relief. These topographic aberrations, which include a variety of environments such as rugged mountains, high plateaus, low valleys and tropical forests, as well as the country's large size, had a negative effect on national transportation, making communication difficult between elevated and low cities along with isolated tropical towns. What finally overcame the geographical difficulties was aviation. This source of communication was very effective since some populations, in most cases, depend exclusively on the air transport for being able to communicate.

The Bolivian air transport started in 1916, when the Military school of Aviation (Spanish: Escuela Militar de Aviación) was formed in La Paz. In 1929 the local government made a project for the construction of the airport. However it was officially inaugurated in the 1960s. In 1974 the airport proceeded to a reconstruction. A new terminal was built and its facilities were enlarged and modernized.[9] Until 1999 the airport took John F. Kennedy (JFK) as the official name although in practice this name was never used in a public way. In that year, before the pressure of different sectors, by means of the Law 1944 during the government of Hugo Banzer Suárez the airport changed its name officially to El Alto International Airport as a de facto name up to that moment.


In 2006, SABSA (Spanish: Servicios Aeroportuarios Bolivianos S.A.) invested nearly 2.3 million dollars in the reconstruciton of the main terminal.[10] The new terminal consists of the enlargement, reshaping and construction of the baggage claim room, the check-in area and the corridor to the air bridges. The administrative offices of AASANA as well as the main hall and the international area were completely modernized.[11]


On 1 March 1997, the Government of Bolivia entered into a 25-year contract with Airport Group International to operate the three largest airports in Bolivia – El Alto Airport in La Paz, Jorge Wilstermann Airport in Cochabamba and Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz. SABSA was created to operate the concession. In 1999 Airport Group International was purchased by TBI plc and, in 2004, Spain's first Abertis/AENA purchased TBI.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Aerial image of airport
Airlines Destinations
Aerocon Trinidad, Potosí
Amaszonas Arequipa, Cuzco, Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz de la Sierra-Viru Viru, Sucre, Tarija, Uyuni
American Airlines Miami
Avianca Bogotá
Avianca Ecuador Guayaquil, Lima
Boliviana de Aviación Cobija, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra-Viru Viru, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza
EcoJet Cobija, Guayaramerín, Riberalta, Sucre, Trinidad[12]
LAN Airlines Iquique, Santiago de Chile
LAN Perú Lima
Peruvian Airlines Cuzco, Lima
Sky Airline Arica, Iquique, Santiago de Chile
TAM - Transporte Aéreo Militar Cobija, Cochabamba, Riberalta, Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz de la Sierra-El Trompillo, Uyuni

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]