Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport

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Varadero International Airport

Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport
Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport.2.jpg
Inside of the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport
Airport typePublic
OperatorECASA S.A.
ServesVaradero and Matanzas
Location5 km from Carbonera
Elevation AMSL64 m / 210 ft
Coordinates23°02′04″N 81°26′07″W / 23.03444°N 81.43528°W / 23.03444; -81.43528Coordinates: 23°02′04″N 81°26′07″W / 23.03444°N 81.43528°W / 23.03444; -81.43528
MUVR is located in Cuba
Location in Cuba
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 3,502 11,490 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Number of Passengers2,515,308
Source: Aerodrome chart[1]

Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport (IATA: VRA, ICAO: MUVR), formerly known as Varadero Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Varadero), is an international airport serving Varadero, Cuba and the province of Matanzas. The airport is located 5 km from the village of Carbonera, closer to the city of Matanzas than to Varadero. The closest airport to Varadero is Kawama Airport. In 2009, the airport handled 1.28 million passengers,[2] 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,[3] 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).

Bust of Juan Gualberto Gómez at the Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport commemorating the inauguration of the airport in 1989.

The terminal building has shops for tourists (including rum, cigars, T-shirts, books, carvings, pharmaceuticals) both before customs check point, at a large departures lounge with cafeterias on the upper level and a smaller air conditioned VIP lounge the lower level.

Immigration checkpoint consists of wooden booths for push doors opened by immigration officers after travelers have been processed. Customs check point consists of three x-ray machines. Two flights of stairs and an escalator take travelers to the departure lounge. Tour operators offices are located near the domestic terminal area.

The ground handling equipment is imported mainly from North America. There are four jet bridges (serving parking areas 2 to 5), but air stairs are used for the remaining aircraft parking space #1 on the apron by the terminal.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Departures area interior

In April 2020, Cuba stopped all scheduled flights. In October 2020, it was announced that the airport would be reopening for flights with tourists being restricted to a "bubble" but before that began, the province moved to the "new normality" and the airport reopened for regular commercial flights, with flights from Mexico and the UK.[4]

Aeroflot Seasonal: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Aeromar Cancún[5]
Air Canada Seasonal: Ottawa
Air Canada Rouge Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Québec City (begins December 19, 2022)[6]
Air Transat Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Hamilton, Ottawa, Québec City
American Airlines Miami (resumes November 3, 2022)[7]
Azur Air Charter: Moscow–Vnukovo
Condor Frankfurt
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Iberojet Seasonal: Lisbon
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal charter: Katowice, Poznań, Warsaw–Chopin
Magnicharters Seasonal: Monterrey
Neos Seasonal: Milan–Malpensa
Nordwind Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
OWG Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Servicios Aéreos Profesionales Punta Cana
Sunclass Airlines Seasonal charter: Copenhagen, Stockholm–Arlanda
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Bagotville, Deer Lake, Gander, Halifax, London (ON), Moncton, Montreal–Trudeau, Regina, Saint John, St. John's, Saskatoon, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto–Pearson, Windsor
Swoop Toronto–Pearson (begins January 11, 2023)[8]
TUI Airways Manchester (UK)
TUI fly Belgium Brussels
TUI fly Netherlands Amsterdam
VivaAerobús Charter: Mexico City
Wamos Air Madrid
WestJet Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary
World2Fly Charter: Lisbon[9]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

There have been five 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.

  • 6 March 2005 - Air Transat Flight 961 Airbus A310 returned safely to airport following detachment of rudder after takeoff.
  • 29 December 1992 - Aerocaribbean Antonov 26 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. The aircraft landed in Miami.[10]

Accidents and incidents that occurred at Varadero (Santa Marta) Airport (now as Kawama Airport):

  • 3 July 1961 - Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. Aircraft lands in Miami.[11]
  • 25 April 1959 - Cubana de Aviación Vickers Viscount was hijacked after takeoff from the Varadero Airport and forced to land at Key West International Airport.[12]
  • 1 November 1958 - Cubana de Aviación Flight 495 Vickers Viscount 755D crashes in Nipe Bay when attempting an emergency landing at the airport, which was then known as Preston Airport. The plane was en route to Varadero from Miami with 20 on board. Only 3 survived with 17 fatalities.[13]


  1. ^ Aerodrome chart Archived 2011-06-26 at the Wayback Machine issued 10 May 2007
  2. ^ "www.radioangulo.cu - Servicios Archivo Aeropuerto de Varadero entre los mejores del país (Spanish only)".[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Cuba's Varadero destination reopened with British tourists". 26 October 2020.
  5. ^ "New route to Varadero". Aeromar (in Spanish). May 2022. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Air Canada rouge Expands Quebec City Flight Options in NW22". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  7. ^ "American Airlines requests DOT to renew routes to Cuba". 30 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Swoop NW22 International Network Additions". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  9. ^ "World2Fly Schedules Orlando Sanford Charters June - August 2022".
  10. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 26 CU-T110 Miami International Airport, FL (MIA)". aviation-safety.net.
  11. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-3 registration unknown Miami, FL". aviation-safety.net.
  12. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Viscount registration unknown Key West International Airport, FL (EYW)". aviation-safety.net.
  13. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers 755D Viscount CU-T603 Preston Airport (PST)". aviation-safety.net.

External links[edit]

Media related to Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport at Wikimedia Commons