Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport

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Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport
Terminal Aeropuerto Pudahuel.jpg
Airport typePublic and Military
OperatorNuevo Pudahuel
LocationPudahuel, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Hub for
Elevation AMSL1,555 ft / 474 m
Coordinates33°23′34″S 70°47′08″W / 33.39278°S 70.78556°W / -33.39278; -70.78556Coordinates: 33°23′34″S 70°47′08″W / 33.39278°S 70.78556°W / -33.39278; -70.78556
WebsiteNuevo Pudahuel
SCL is located in Chile
Location of airport in Chile
Direction Length Surface
m ft
17R/35L 3,800 12,467 Asphalt
17L/35R 3,800 12,467 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger Numbers24,645,705
ILS Category/RunwayCAT II & IIIb / 17L[1]
Passenger Statistics from Groupe ADP[2]
View of the tarmac

Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Arturo Merino Benítez)[3] (IATA: SCL, ICAO: SCEL), also known as Santiago International Airport and Nuevo Pudahuel Airport, located in Pudahuel, 15 km (9.3 mi) north-west of downtown Santiago, is Chile's largest aviation facility and busiest international airport.

Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport has domestic and international services to destinations in Europe, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. In 2011 it was the ninth busiest airport in Latin America and the sixth busiest in South America by passenger traffic. It was the seventh busiest airport in Latin America by aircraft movements, serving 124,799 operations.[4] Its location in Chile's most populated area, as well as in the central part of the country makes of it an ideal main hub and maintenance center for most local airlines such as LATAM and Sky Airline. LATAM Airlines accounts for approximately 82% of the airport's total commercial operations.[5]

The airport is owned by the Chilean government and has been operated since October 2015 by Nuevo Pudahuel, a consortium of companies formed by Aéroports de Paris (France), Vinci (France) and Astaldi (Italy). Air traffic control is handled by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Its ICAO category is 4F. The airport functions as a joint civil-military facility. It is the headquarters of the Chilean Air Force 2nd Air Brigade and where its 10th Aviation Group is based.

Santiago International is the longest non-stop destination for most European carriers including Iberia, Air France, and British Airways from their respective hubs in Madrid–Barajas Airport, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, and London–Heathrow Airport. In addition, LATAM flies to Frankfurta via Madrid.

The airport is also South America's main gateway to Oceania, with scheduled flights to Sydney, Auckland, Easter Island, Papeete and Melbourne. The Santiago–Rome non-stop flight operated by Alitalia is the longest flight to ever fly out of this airport.


Early years[edit]

The demands of the growing metropolitan area of Santiago and the need for modern, jet-era airport facilities, which could safely accommodate both domestic and intercontinental flights, drove the need to relocate the Chilean capital's principal airport from Los Cerrillos Airport (ICAO: SCTI; IATA: ULC) in the denser southwest metropolitan region of Santiago to the more rural northwest metropolitan area.

Construction of the original terminal building, the eastern runway (17L/35R), control tower, east apron and cargo facilities commenced in 1961. On February 2, 1967, the airport was commissioned Aeropuerto Internacional de Pudahuel, due to its location in the municipality of Pudahuel. On March 19, 1980, the airport was rechristened Air Commodore Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in honour of the founder of the Chilean Air Force and Chilean carrier LATAM Chile.

1994 expansion[edit]

The facility was expanded in 1994 with a new international terminal that covered 90,000 square meters, inspired by the architecture of Marseille Provence Airport in France. The building is located between the two parallel runways. This expansion added a new control tower, jetways, a duty-free zone, hotel, and greater parking area. The old terminal was used for domestic flights until 2001, when all passenger operations were merged into the same building.

In 2000, Lan Chile joined Oneworld, making of Arturo Merino Benitez Airport a main hub for the alliance, its first one in Latin America and its second in the Southern Hemisphere (after Qantas' Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in Australia). As of April 2014, 71% of international and 75% of domestic passengers were carried by Oneworld member airlines. During the 2010 Chile earthquake, the passenger terminal building suffered internal damages and the collapse of a pedestrian bridge between the vehicle ramp and the departures area. Nevertheless, both runways and control tower were unharmed, allowing the realization of a massive humanitarian air-bridge held by the Chilean Air Force to Concepción, Chile (Carriel Sur International Airport), close to the most damaged area by this earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The airport authority had closed off all commercial flight operations after around 1200 UTC on February 27, resuming full operations on March 3, 2010.[6][7]

In 2011, IATA recognized the DGAC (Chile’s provider of air navigation services) and SCL (Santiago Airport) with the Exceptional Recognition Award to the cooperative efforts of SCL and DGAC Chile that facilitated a quick recovery from the devastation that followed the Chilean earthquake on 27 February 2010. "Both airport and air navigation services were restored quickly with no impact on rates or charges for passengers or airlines. DGAC Chile and SCL are widely regarded as leaders in Latin America for efficiency, quality, and customer focus.[8]

Departure gates

In June 2011, Santiago International Airport received the Air Cargo Excellence Award, as the best Latin American Cargo Airport.[9]

Second runway[edit]

Construction on Runway 17R/35L began in 2004 and opened to traffic in September 2005. However, within months defects were discovered and the runway required repairing, completed in January 2006. Unfortunately further study of the problem discovered that the initial repairs were insufficient, needing additional work. Finally, 17R/35L reopened for traffic in March 2007.

2020 Master plan and expansion[edit]

In 2008, the airport terminal reached its maximum design capacity of 9.5 million annual passengers, two years earlier than forecast, and with the repairs needed after the 2010 Chile earthquake, the Ministry of Public Works announced in 2012 that it would call for proposals for the expansion and administration of the airport, two years prior to the end of the contract with the current operator.

The ministry decided to investigate a new airport master plan instead of an expansion of the single passenger terminal building, as initially proposed by the current operator. The feasibility studies for this master plan cost 4,560 million Chilean pesos (US$9.4 million) considered in the 2011 fiscal budget. For this new master plan, the Government hired the consultancy services of Aéroports de Paris Ingeniérie (ADP-I), the architecture, engineering and technical branch of the French airport corporation.[10]

The master plan took into account a capacity growth to 14 million annual passengers by 2014, thirty-four million by year 2034 and 50 million passengers by 2045. New detached passenger terminal buildings for international and domestic flights, additional commercial areas and the construction of a light railway connecting the airport with the Santiago Metro network were considered.[11]

In June 2013, the Chilean Ministry of Public Works started Phase 1 of the airport expansion.[12]

On February 4, 2015, the consortium "Nuevo Pudahuel", formed by French companies Aéroports de Paris (45%), Vinci Airports (40%) and Italian infrastructure company Astaldi (15%) won the bidding process to manage and develop the airport for 20 years since October 1, 2015. The main missions of the new administration will be "the renovation of existing installations with the redesign and extension of the current terminal; the funding, design and construction of a new 175,000-square-meter terminal which will increase the airport's capacity to 30 million passengers, with potential for expansion beyond 45 million; the operation and commercial development for the duration of the concession (20 years) of the main infrastructures: existing terminal and new terminals, car parks and future property developments. Building works will be executed by Astaldi (50% of conception-construction pool) and Vinci Construction Grands Projets (50%)".[13]

Passenger terminal[edit]

View of the domestic terminal

The terminal building has four levels:

  • Ground floor: Arrivals, duty-free shop, baggage claim, customs and border control, transport services, parking areas, hotel access.
  • First floor: Administrative offices, VIP lounges (access through the second floor).
  • Second floor: Departures, check-in areas, border control police, duty-free shops, restaurants, boarding halls and gates.
  • Third floor: Restaurants and VIP check-in areas (LATAM).

The terminal building hosts the following services: bank office, Chilean Automobile Club, telecommunication companies (Claro, Movistar and Entel PCS), pharmacy, travel agencies, insurance offices and a police station (Carabineros de Chile).


The airport has four tax-free shops. They are handled by the Spanish duty-free operator Aldeasa. One of them is located just after the police border control at departures, while another one is located before the baggage claim area.[14]

Souvenirs, jewellery, Chilean handcrafts and wine shops, music and accessories among others, are available in more than 70 stores.[citation needed]


The airport has 21 restaurants, coffee shops and bars, located in the public area and in the national and international departing lounges.[citation needed]

Airline lounges[edit]

In the international terminal, the operators are:

  • LATAM Airlines Lounge: Located on 4th & 5th floor. Access after passport control. Access for LATAM's Premium Business Class travellers, LATAM Pass or LATAM Fidelidade Platinum, Black and Black Signature frequent flyers.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club: Located next to boarding gate 19. O Access for Admirals Club members, AAdvantage Platinum & Executive Platinum elite frequent flyers, AA International Premium Class, Oneworld First and Business Class passengers, as well as Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald tier status members.
  • Delta Air Lines Sky Club: Located next to boarding gate 17. Access for Delta Sky Club Members, Delta's passengers travelling in the Delta One cabin or on SkyTeam alliance Premium cabin and SkyTeam Elite Plus tier status members.
  • Avianca Sala VIP: Located by gate 12B (one floor below departures level). Access for Avianca's International Business Class passengers, Lifemiles Elite Members (Silver, Gold & Diamond Levels), as well as Star Alliance Silver & Gold tier status frequent flyers.
  • Pacific Club (Priority Pass)


  • Holiday Inn Hotels finished the construction of a five-floor building in July 2007, internally connected to both terminals (international and domestic). The hotel has 112 rooms, restaurants, bars, room-service, a conference hall for 170 people, gym, covered swimming pool, spa and wi-fi internet access.
  • Hotel Diego de Almagro is located 2 km outside the airport area.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn Santiago Airport Hotel is located 2.8 km from the Santiago International Airport within the ENEA, one of the largest business complex in Santiago de Chile which hosts offices, industry and entertainment. The hotel has 144 rooms, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, sauna, seven meeting spaces including a ballroom and business center.
  • The LQ Hotel Santiago Airport (La Quinta Inns & Suites) is under construction and will be the newest hotel near the airport and the first LQ Hotel in Chile. The hotel is located 2.8 km from Santiago International Airport. The hotel will have a restaurant, indoor swimming pool, fitness center, wifi, business center and meeting space. [3]

Military functions[edit]

The airport is the headquarters of the Chilean Air Force II Air Brigade and hosts the 10th Aviation Group facilities. The 10th Aviation Group is in charge of Strategic Air Transportation, the Airborne Early Warning & Control Squadron, medical air transport emergencies and the air transportation of the President of Chile. Some of its units are C-130 Hercules, Boeing 767-300, Boeing 737 Classic, Gulfstream IV, CASA C-212 Aviocar, F-16 Fighting Falcon, AEW&C Condor. The FIDAE, Latin America's most important air show takes place in the 10th Aviation Group facilities.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Aerolíneas Argentinas Buenos Aires–Ezeiza
Aeroméxico Mexico City (resumes December 1, 2020)[15]
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson (resumes November 6, 2020)[16]
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Amaszonas Uruguay Montevideo, Punta del Este
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Avianca Bogotá
British Airways London–Heathrow
Copa Airlines Panama City–Tocumen
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Estelar Latinoamerica Caracas
Gol Transportes Aéreos São Paulo–Guarulhos
Iberia Madrid
JetSmart Antofagasta, Arequipa, Arica, Balmaceda, Bogotá, Buenos Aires–El Palomar, Calama, Cali, Castro (begins December 22, 2020),[17] Concepción, Copiapó, Foz do Iguaçu, Iquique, La Serena, Lima, Puerto Montt, Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, Salvador da Bahia, São Paulo–Guarulhos, Temuco, Trujillo, Valdivia
JetSmart Argentina Córdoba, Mendoza
KLM Amsterdam
LATAM Brasil São Paulo–Guarulhos
LATAM Chile Antofagasta, Arica, Asunción, Bogotá, Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Calama, Castro, Concepción, Copiapó, Córdoba, Coyhaique, Easter Island, Florianópolis, Guayaquil, Iquique, La Paz, La Serena, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mendoza, Mexico City, Miami, Montevideo, New York–JFK, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Punta del Este, Quito, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão, Santa Cruz de la Sierra–Viru Viru, São Paulo–Guarulhos, Stanley–Mount Pleasant, Tel Aviv, Temuco, Valdivia
LATAM Perú Cusco, Lima
Level Barcelona
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Qantas Sydney
Sky Airline Antofagasta, Arica, Bogotá, Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Calama, Concepción, Copiapó, Córdoba, Coyhaique, Iquique, La Serena, Lima, Mendoza, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão, Temuco, São Paulo–Guarulhos, Valdivia
Seasonal: Florianópolis, Montevideo, Puerto Natales, Punta del Este, Salvador da Bahia
United Airlines Houston–Intercontinental

a The LATAM Chile flight to Tel Aviv has a stop in São Paulo. The same aircraft then continues to Tel Aviv under the same flight number. The same occurs on the return flight.


Atlas Air Miami, Campinas
Avianca Cargo Bogotá
Cargolux[18] Amsterdam, Aguadilla, Bogota, Luxembourg
China Cargo Airlines Los Angeles
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Addis Ababa, Lagos, Campinas[19]
Korean Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon, Campinas
LATAM Cargo Chile Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Campinas, Miami
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt
Martinair Aguadilla, Amsterdam, Bogotá, Guayaquil, Miami, Quito
UPS Airlines Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Campinas
Western Global Airlines Miami


Santiago domestic non-stop routes (as of July 2015)
Santiago international non-stop routes (as of June 2017)
Busiest international routes January–December (2019)[20]
Rank City Passengers % Change Airlines
1 Peru Lima, Peru 1.796.183 Increase 8,5% Avianca Perú, JetSmart, LATAM, Sky Airline
2 Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina (Ezeiza and Aeroparque) 1.612.412 Decrease 0,4% Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, LATAM, Sky Airline, KLM, JetSmart
3 Brazil São Paulo–Guarulhos, Brazil 1.392.222 Decrease 7,7% LATAM, GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, JetSmart, Emirates, Sky Airline
4 Colombia Bogotá, Colombia 662.425 Increase 3,0% Avianca, LATAM
5 Spain Madrid, Spain 521.485 Increase 9,8% Iberia, LATAM
6 Brazil Rio de Janeiro–Galeão, Brazil 512.990 Decrease 0,5% LATAM, GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, Sky Airline
7 Panama Panama City, Panama 468.416 Decrease 2,1% Copa Airlines
8 United States Miami, FL, US 467.427 Decrease 0,1% American Airlines, LATAM
9 Argentina Mendoza, Argentina 298.059 Decrease 19,7% LATAM, Sky Airline
10 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico 288.788 Increase 0,7% Aeroméxico, LATAM
11 Uruguay Montevideo, Uruguay 262.107 Decrease 5,2% LATAM, Sky Airline
12 Australia Sydney, Australia 250.238 Increase 9,7% Qantas, LATAM
13 France Paris–Charles de Gaulle, France 242.575 Decrease 4,0% Air France
14 Argentina Cordoba, Argentina 190.027 Decrease 32,7% LATAM
15 United States New York–JFK, NY, US 182.953 Decrease 1,4% LATAM
16 United States Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, US 148.472 Decrease 0,8% American Airlines
17 United States Atlanta, GA, US 127.533 Increase 0,2% Delta Air Lines
18 United States Houston–Intercontinental, TX, US 124.918 Increase 3,4% United Airlines
19 United States Los Angeles, CA, US 122.579 Increase 34,2% LATAM
20 Italy Rome–Fiumicino, Italy 119.887 Decrease 1,5% Alitalia
21 Australia Melbourne, Australia 103.939 Increase 37,1% LATAM
22 New Zealand Auckland, New Zealand 101.703 Decrease 7,1% LATAM
23 Canada Toronto–Pearson, Canada 93.203 Decrease 13,4% Air Canada
24 Paraguay Asuncion, Paraguay 92.285 Increase 9,1% LATAM
25 United Kingdom London–Heathrow, UK 91.649 Increase 19,4% British Airways
26 Ecuador Guayaquil, Ecuador 82.779 Decrease 17,7% LATAM
27 Spain Barcelona 66.819 Steady LEVEL
28 Bolivia La Paz, Bolivia 62.525 Increase 10,2% LATAM
29 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands 60.490 Decrease 5,2% KLM
30 Brazil Florianópolis, Brazil 53.245 Decrease 3,1% LATAM, Sky Airline
31 Brazil Salgado Filho International Airport, Brazil 42.284 Steady LATAM
32 Bolivia Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia 42.196 Decrease 6,5% LATAM
33 Ecuador Quito, Ecuador 37.026 Steady LATAM
34 Peru Cuzco, Peru 36.881 Increase 189,2% LATAM
35 Mexico Cancún, Mexico 32.043 Decrease 13,3% LATAM
36 Argentina Neuquén, Argentina 30.064 Decrease 17,9% LATAM
37 Dominican Republic Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 28.584 Decrease 13,9% LATAM
38 Argentina Rosario, Argentina 26.360 Decrease 72,2% LATAM
39 Germany Frankfurt, Germany 20.988 Increase 23,9% LATAM
Busiest domestic routes January–December [2019][20]
Rank City Passengers % Change Airlines
1 Antofagasta, Chile Calama 2.042.703 Increase 13,2% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
2 Antofagasta, Chile Antofagasta 1.822.066 Increase 4,9% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
3 Los Lagos, Chile Puerto Montt 1.430.272 Increase 10,5% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
4 Tarapaca, Chile Iquique 1.420.833 Increase 13,5% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
5 Biobío, Chile Concepción 1.332.730 Increase 11,6% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
6 Araucanía, Chile Temuco 975.800 Increase 6,9% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
7 Magallanes, Chile Punta Arenas 901.822 Increase 0,5% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
8 Arica, Chile Arica 875.646 Increase 9,0% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
9 Coquimbo, Chile La Serena 866.512 Increase 12,9% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
10 Atacama, Chile Copiapó 615.383 Increase 8,7% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
11 Aisén, Chile Balmaceda 427.206 Increase 11,5% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
12 Los Ríos, Chile Valdivia 343.506 Increase 43,9% LATAM, Sky Airline, Jetsmart
13 Valparaíso, Chile Easter Island 302.580 Increase 18,0% LATAM
14 Los Lagos, Chile Osorno 162.958 Increase 18,1% LATAM, Sky Airline
15 Los Lagos, Chile Castro 69.040 Decrease 0,6% LATAM
16 Magallanes, Chile Puerto Natales 24.661 Increase 61,1% LATAM

Ground transportation[edit]


Costanera Norte Expressway

Arturo Merino Benitez is about 17 kilometres (11 mi) by car from Santiago's city center. The airport is well served by the six-lane expressway Costanera Norte (Exit # 31), which crosses through the city from West to East bordering the Mapocho river, while it is also well connected to the West, North and North-East of Santiago by the Vespucio Norte Express Ring motorway (Exit # 18).

Taxi and shuttle services[edit]

There are two official airport taxi services: Taxi Oficial and Taxi Vip. TransVip shuttle services reach most of Santiago's hotels, business and residential districts.


Buses at the Departures Level

Centropuerto buses connect the airport with Los Héroes station of Santiago Metro. Their frequency is every 10 minutes during weekdays and 15 minutes during weekends. Turbus offers a similar service to its Alameda terminal. Both these services stop at the Pajaritos metro station/bus terminal on the way.

Rental services[edit]

Car rental services are available from the airport.[21]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Trafic de l'année 2019". Groupe ADP - Service presse (in French). January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  3. ^ Ministerio de Defensa Nacional de Chile (March 19, 1980). "Decreto ley 3245: Denomina Aeropuerto Arturo Merino Benítez al actual Aeropuerto de Pudahuel". Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  4. ^ Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil. DGAC (2013-07-15). Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  5. ^ Aeropuerto Internacionale de Santiago de Chile – SCL Archived 2013-01-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  6. ^ "Reuters earthquake report". Reuters. February 27, 2010. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  7. ^ (in French) Business Travel, "Aéroport de Santiago au Chili: retour à la normale mercredi" Archived 2010-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, 2 March 2010 (accessed 3 March 2010)
  8. ^ Announces Eagle Awards Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine. IATA. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  9. ^ Air Cargo Excellence / Home Archived 2011-05-18 at the Wayback Machine. Air Cargo World. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  10. ^ Portal de Registro y Autentificación El Mercurio Archived 2016-12-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  11. ^ Portal de Registro y Autentificación El Mercurio Archived 2016-12-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  12. ^ [1] Archived 2014-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-11-18.
  13. ^ "VINCI : Aeroports de Paris, VINCI Airports and Astaldi presented the best offer for the Santiago de Chile International Airport concession". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "Shopping and services". Aeropuerto de Santiago. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  15. ^ "Safety Precautions: COVID-19". Aeroméxico. October 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Ethiopian Cargo adds Nanjing service from May 2018". Airline Route. June 25, 2018. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  20. ^ a b [2] Archived September 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "LetsGoChile > » Car Rental in Chile". Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport at Wikimedia Commons