La Aurora International Airport

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La Aurora International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora
Airport type Military/Public
Owner Ministerio de Comunicaciones, Infraestructura y Vivienda
Operator Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Serves Guatemala City
Location Guatemala City, Guatemala
Elevation AMSL 1,509 m / 4,951 ft
Coordinates 14°34′54″N 090°31′36″W / 14.58167°N 90.52667°W / 14.58167; -90.52667Coordinates: 14°34′54″N 090°31′36″W / 14.58167°N 90.52667°W / 14.58167; -90.52667
MGGT is located in Guatemala
Location in Guatemala
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,987 9,800 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 2,759,347
Source: Guatemalan AIP[1]

La Aurora International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora) (IATA: GUAICAO: MGGT) serves Guatemala City, Guatemala. It is located 6.4 km (4.0 mi)[1] 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.[citation needed] 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 only by Tocumen International Airport in Panamá, Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica, and Comalapa International Airport in El Salvador. In June 2007 the airport was certified as Category I; currently (2015), it is considered as Category 3 due to poor management of the installations and government issues, certified by the FAA.[2]


La Aurora is being renovated, along with other airports in Guatemala, such as Mundo Maya International Airport, Quetzaltenango Airport, Puerto Barrios Airport, and San José Airport.

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).[1] 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.

La Aurora International Airport has 2 Exclusive VIP Lounges. Los Añejos Business Lounge serving Iberia's first class passengers[3] and Copa Club, a VIP Lounge for passengers travelling on Copa Airlines and United Airlines[4]

Cargo operations are handled beside the passenger terminal building by COMBEX-IM or in the DHL hangars. [5]

The head office of the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil is located in the airport Zone 13.[6][7]

History of La Aurora[edit]

World War II[edit]

Original airport building, circa. 1940.

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:

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[edit]


Check-in counters at the airport.
Main corridor at the airport.
Waiting room at the airport.
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aerolíneas Sosa San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa North
Aeroméxico Mexico City North
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami North
Avianca Bogotá North
Avianca Costa Rica Los Angeles, San José (CR) North
Avianca El Salvador San Salvador, Miami North
Avianca Guatemala Flores, Managua, San Andrés San José (CR) Central & North
Avianca Honduras San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa North
Copa Airlines Managua, Panama City–Tocumen, San José (CR) North
Copa Airlines Colombia Panama City–Tocumen North
CM Airlines San Pedro Sula North
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Los Angeles
Seasonal: New York–JFK
Eastern Air Lines Seasonal Charter: Orlando North
Iberia Madrid1 Central
Interjet Mexico City Central & North
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale Central
Transportes Aereos Guatemaltecos Flores, Tegucigalpa, Roatán, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador-Ilopango Central
United Airlines Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles North
Veca Airlines San Salvador Central
Volaris Cancún, Guadalajara North
Volaris Costa Rica San José (CR) North
Wamos Air Madrid(begins June 20,2017)[8] Central

^1 Iberia flight from Guatemala City to Madrid makes a stop in San Salvador, but the airline does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Guatemala City and San Salvador.


Airlines Destinations
Aereo Ruta Maya Copán, Palenque, Quirigua, Roatan, Flores
Amerijet International Miami
Avianca Cargo Bogota
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air
Guadalajara, Huatulco, Miami, San Jose (CR)
DHL Aviation
operated by DHL Aero Expreso
Miami, Panama City–Tocumen
DHL Aviation
operated by DHL De Guatemala
Mexico City, Miami, Panama City–Tocumen, San José (CR), San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa
FedEx Express Memphis
Florida West International Airways Miami
LATAM Cargo Chile Miami
LATAM Cargo Mexico Mexico City
UPS Airlines Atlanta, Miami
KLM Cargo Amsterdam
Cargolux Luxembourg


In 2016, the airport handled 2,759,347 passengers.[9]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 1 March 1980, a Douglas C-47 of the Fuerza Aérea Guatemalteca was damaged beyond repair near La Aurora.[10]
  • On 6 April 1993, TACA Airlines Boeing 767 ran off the end of runway 19 after landing. A passenger on board filmed the landing which showed the plane coming in too steep, too fast and on 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, overshot the runway and crashed into some structures. Surprisingly, there were no fatalities and the only injured people were 3 non-passengers. The aircraft was written off[11] Retrieved on October 4, 2016
  • On April 28, 1995, Millon Air Flight 705 (a DC-8, Registration N43UA) from Miami landed on runway 19 in light rain. The aircraft overran the runway, collided with the approach lights and a perimeter fence, went down a steep slope and ended up in a residential area. The aircraft had touched down at 135 knots with 5300 feet of runway length remaining.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

External links[edit]