La Aurora International Airport
La Aurora International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora
|Owner||Ministerio de Comunicaciones, Infraestructura y Vivienda|
|Operator||Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil|
|Serves||Guatemala City, Guatemala|
|Elevation AMSL||1,509 m / 4,951 ft|
La Aurora International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora, IATA: GUA, ICAO: MGGT) serves Guatemala City, Guatemala. It is located 6.4 km (4.0 mi) south of Guatemala City's center and 25 km (16 mi) from Antigua Guatemala. It is administered by the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil.
La Aurora International Airport is the primary airport of Guatemala. The airport went through a massive modernization and expansion. The airport is now able to accept a greater number of flights and larger aircraft. It provides high standard installations to the traveler. The old terminal has been renovated in accordance with its original design. It was partly demolished and was expanded with a new glass-designed concourse and is now able to accommodate up to twenty-two aircraft. The greater project was completed by December 2008. The airport currently has two terminals: Central and North.
La Aurora International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in Central America in terms of passenger traffic, surpassed by Tocumen International Airport in Panamá, Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica, and Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in El Salvador. In June 2007 the airport was certified as Category I but lost it in August 2018.
In July 2007, seven new gates were opened. These gates are equipped with jetway bridges and modern conveniences, also a new parking garage was also built and it can handle up to 500 vehicles.
There are brand new ticket counters. 2007 brought significant gate expansion (11 new gates were available starting December 2007). The airport now has two concourses. The northern concourse has 12 traditional gates and 3 remote gates. The central concourse, is used for larger aircraft as it provides 4–6 gates depending on the size of the aircraft.
The airport's runway currently measures 2,987 m × 60 m (9,800 ft × 197 ft). There have been efforts in the past to expand the runway but this has not yet been possible since there's a commercial area to the north of the runway and a small ravine near the southern side of the runway. Still, the renovation of the runway is in progress. The first phase consists in repaving the runway as well modernizing the illumination system. Future plans to expand the taxiway repave and move all the cargo facilities to San José Airport in Escuintla and Puerto Barrios Airport in Izabal. This will make room for more passenger terminal area and improved taxiways. Finally, the airport administration building is being refurbished and a regional terminal is being built.
History of La Aurora
World War II
During World War II, the airport was used by the United States Army Air Forces Sixth Air Force defending the Central American coastline against Axis powers submarines. The first American personnel began arriving in December 1941; the airfield was improved and expanded by the United States' 805th Engineer Aviation Battalion in early 1942. During its period of American use, the military facilities of the airport were known as Guatemala City Air Base. Flying units assigned to the airport were:
- 51st Fighter Squadron (Detachment) (32d Fighter Group), 2 January 1942 – 9 March 1943, (P-40 Warhawk)
- 74th Bombardment Squadron (40th, 6th Bombardment Groups), 9 January 1942 – 7 April 1944 (B-18 Bolo, B-17 Flying Fortress)
- 44th Bombardment Squadron (40th Bombardment Group) 6 July 1942 – 4 June 1943, (B-18 Bolo)
Detachments from the airfield operated intermittently from San Jose Airport, San José, Costa Rica, and Puerto San José, Guatemala from 1942 though 1944. After the war ended, a small number of Americans remained at the airport performing training duties with the Guatemalan Air Force and also operating a weather station (MATS 6th Weather Squadron). United States personnel were restricted to base during the Guatemalan revolution following the death of Colonel Francisco Xavier Arana on 18 July 1949. Some artillery shells landed on the base during the violence. The facility was closed on 28 July 1949 and turned over to Guatemalan authorities.
Airlines and destinations
|American Airlines||Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami|
|ARM Aviación|| Flores, Huehuetenango |
Charter: Copán, Palenque, Roatan
|Avianca||Bogotá, Los Angeles, San José (CR), San Salvador, Tegucigalpa|
|Copa Airlines||Managua, Panama City, San José (CR)|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Los Angeles|
|Eastern Air Lines||New York–JFK (begins February 13, 2021)|
|Frontier Airlines||Miami (begins April 12, 2021)|
|JetBlue||New York–JFK (begins April 28, 2021)|
|Spirit Airlines||Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Intercontinental, Orlando|
|Transportes Aereos Guatemaltecos||Belize City, Cancún, Flores, Puerto Barrios, Roatán, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa|
|United Airlines||Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, Washington–Dulles|
|Volaris||Cancún, Los Angeles, Mexico City, San José (CR), San Salvador|
In 2016, the airport handled 2,759,347 passengers.
Accidents and incidents
- On 1 March 1980, a Douglas C-47 of the Fuerza Aérea Guatemalteca was damaged beyond repair near La Aurora.
- On 6 April 1993, TACA Airlines Flight 510, a Boeing 767, ran off the end of Runway 19 (now Runway 20) after landing. A passenger on board filmed the landing, which showed a runway with standing water from a tropical storm which had just passed over. A great amount of runway had passed under the plane before touchdown and the pilot forced the landing. In spite of thrust reversers used, the plane could not slow down in time, began to shudder from excessive wheel-braking, the captain made a last second decision to steer the airplane to the left of the runway (avoiding a big ditch at the end of the runway), went down an embankment and stopped into some structures. Surprisingly, there were no fatalities and the only injured people were 3 non-passengers. The aircraft was written off.
- On 28 April 1995, Faucett Flight 705, a Douglas DC-8 leased by Millon Air, overshot the runway and crashed into several houses. All three crew members onboard survived, but 6 people on the ground were killed.
- On 21 December 1999, Cubana de Aviación Flight 1216, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (leased to Cubana by AOM French Airlines) overshot runway 19 during landing and crashed into a residential area. 16 of the 314 people on board were killed, along with two people on the ground.
- On 4 June 2018, the airport had to close due to the 2018 Volcán de Fuego eruption.
- MGGT – LA AURORA Internacional
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- [permanent dead link]
- "ADDRESSES OF ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION AUTHORITIES As of March 2010 Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Air Accident Investigation Bureau. Retrieved on 22 January 2012. "GUATEMALA Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil Aeropuerto Internacional "La Aurora" Zona 13 Guatemala, Centro América"
- "A 01/11 31 ENE Archived 9 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine." Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil. Retrieved on 22 January 2012. "Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora 9 Av. 14–75 Zona 13 C.P. 1013"
- "Guatemala cumple seis meses de pandemia con la cifra más alta de muertes del istmo". www.msn.com. EFE. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "Dos aerolíneas ofrecerán vuelos desde Guatemala hacia Puerto Barrios por 110 dólares" [Two airlines will offer flights from Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios for $110]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). 23 January 2017. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 767-2S1ER N767TA Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport (GUA)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-54F N43UA Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport (GUA)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 F-GTDI Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport (GUA)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
- Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (in Spanish)