Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
|Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport|
|IATA: VRA – ICAO: MUVR|
|Elevation AMSL||64 m / 210 ft|
|Number of Passengers||1,275,000|
|Source: Aerodrome chart|
Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport (IATA: VRA, ICAO: MUVR) is an international airport serving Varadero, Cuba and the province of Matanzas. The airport is located closer to the town of Matanzas than to Varadero. The closest airport to Varadero is Kawama Airport. In 2009, the airport handled 1.28 million passengers, making it the second busiest airport in Cuba after José Martí International Airport in Havana.
Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport was built in 1989 and inaugurated by Fidel Castro, thus replacing the old Varadero airport located in Santa Marta, currently known as Kawama Airport. The airport was named after a journalist, fighter for the Cuban Independence and black rights activist in Cuba Juan Gualberto Gómez (1854–1933).
The terminal building has a few shops, duty free shop, cafeterias and crowded lounges. The ground handling equipment is imported mainly from North America. There are four jet bridges, but air stairs are used for the remaining aircraft parking spaces on the apron by the terminal.
Airlines and destinations
There has been 5 significant incidents involving aircraft from or en route to the airport since the 1950s. Only 1 flight involved resulted in fatalities. Three flights involved Cubans hijacking an aircraft to flee to the United States.
- March 6, 2005 - Air Transat Flight 961 Airbus A310 returned safely to airport following detachment of rudder after take off.
- December 29, 1992 - Aerocaribbean Antonov 26 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. Aircraft lands in Miami.
Incidents in the old Varadero (Santa Marta) Airport:
- July 3, 1961 - Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. Aircraft lands in Miami.
- April 25, 1959 - Cubana de Aviación Vickers Viscount was hijacked after takeoff from the Varadero Airport and forced to land at Key West International Airport.
- November 1, 1958 - Cubana de Aviación Flight 495 Vickers Viscount 755D crashes in Nipe Bay when attempting an emergency landing at Preston Airport. Plane was en route to Varadero from Miami with 20 on board. Only 3 survived with 17 fatalities.
- Aerodrome chart issued 10 May 2007
- www.radioangulo.cu - Servicios Archivo Aeropuerto de Varadero entre los mejores del país (Spanish only)
- flyhamilton.ca - NEW SERVICE FOR WINTER SEASON AT HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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