Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
|Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
Aeropuerto Juan Gualberto Gómez
|IATA: VRA – ICAO: MUVR|
|Elevation AMSL||64 m / 210 ft|
Source: Aerodrome chart
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 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, making it the second busiest airport in Cuba after José Martí International Airport in Havana.
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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 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 wood 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
|Fedex Express||Miami (begins January 15, 2017)|
Accidents and incidents
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.
- 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. The aircraft landed in Miami.
Accidents and incidents that occurred at Varadero (Santa Marta) Airport (now as Kawama 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)
- Liu, Jim (15 June 2016). "Silver Airways Opens Reservation for Cuba Service from Sep 2016". Airline Route. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Liu, Jim (14 June 2016). "Virgin Atlantic Adds Varadero Service from April 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Liu, Jim (15 June 2016). "XL Airways France Adds Cuba Service in W16". routesonline. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
Media related to Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport at Wikimedia Commons