Augusto C. Sandino International Airport

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Augusto C. Sandino
International Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional
Augusto C. Sandino
Sandino International Airport.jpg
Airport typeMilitary/Public
OwnerRepublica de Nicaragua
OperatorEAAI (Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales)
LocationManagua, Nicaragua
Elevation AMSL59 m / 194 ft
Coordinates12°08′29″N 086°10′05″W / 12.14139°N 86.16806°W / 12.14139; -86.16806
MGA is located in Nicaragua
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 2,442 8,012 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passenger change 16–17Increase6.2%
Aircraft movements36,510
Movements change 16–17Decrease0.8%
Source: Nicaraguan AIP,[1] MTI[2]

Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto C. Sandino) (IATA: MGA, ICAO: MNMG) or ACS is the main joint civil-military public international airport in Managua, Nicaragua named after Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Nicolás Sandino and located in the City's 6th ward, known locally as Distrito 6. Originally christened as Las Mercedes Airport in 1968, it was later renamed Augusto C. Sandino International Airport during the Sandinista government in the 1980s and again in 2001 to Managua International Airport by then-president Arnoldo Alemán. Its name was changed once more in February 2007 to its current name by President Daniel Ortega to honor the revolutionary.[3] Managua also has an alternative landing strip at Punta Huete Airport. Punta Huete was designed for larger aircraft. This alternative landing site, however, does not service commercial aircraft. The airport is managed by the state-run Administrative Company of International Airports, more commonly known as the EAAI given its Spanish name, the Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales.

The runway at the airport is 8,012 ft long, and it is located at an elevation of 194 feet. With 1.4 million passengers in 2013, ACS is currently the fifth busiest airport by passenger traffic in Central America and it also serves as a focus city for the Panamanian airline Copa Airlines. Augusto C. Sandino International Airport has direct scheduled service to destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.


Before ACS, there was the old Xolotlan Airport, about 2 miles east of Managua, built in 1915 which very soon became too small for Managua's airline service growth. Thus, on January 22, 1942, the Nicaraguan Government and Pan American Airways signed a contract to construct an airport by Las Mercedes Country Estate which inspired the name for Las Mercedes Airport.[4] Las Mercedes was further upgraded, re-designed to handle Boeing 707 aircraft, and re-inaugurated on July 4, 1968, by Anastasio Somoza Debayle.[5]

In the early 1970s, Las Mercedes was expanded to more modern standards, such as four health inspectors, eight immigration officers and ten customs inspectors.[6] It was considered fully equipped, having air conditioning, background music, loudspeakers and conveyor belts for baggage handling.[7] It also had a restaurant on its upper floor where visitors and travelers could see airport movement.

The expanded airport could serve three aircraft at once and by 1975 LANICA, the National Airline of Nicaragua, as well as many well known carriers Pan Am, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Taca Airlines, Sahsa, Avianca, Iberia, SAM, TAN, Varig, and smaller local carriers, flew into Las Mercedes. When the Sandinistas took power, the airport was named after Augusto César Sandino, a Nicaraguan revolutionary and guerrilla leader, after whom the Sandinista movement is named. The Sandinistas however did not maintain the airport, and it began to deteriorate until it was expanded and remodeled in 1996, when, among other things, two new boarding bridges were installed.[6] The airport was renamed "Managua International Airport" in 2001 by then President Arnoldo Alemán and renamed again in 2007 to its current name by President Daniel Ortega In mid 2007, President Daniel Ortega renamed the airport in honor of Sandino. Nicaraguan artist Róger Pérez de la Rocha has created two large portraits of Augusto César Sandino, and Rubén Darío which they lay at the airports lobby.[8]

Las Mercedes served for a very long time as a hub for Nicaragua's flag carriers Lanica (until 1978), Aeronica from 1979 to the 80's and NICA afterwards. When NICA became a member of Grupo TACA during the 1990s, the number of important connections to the rest of Latin America from which ACS grew considerably.

According to EAAI (Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales) ACS is the most modern airport in Central America and the 4th safest in the world. It is located just 11 km (7 mi) from Managua's downtown, has a runway which measures 8,015 ft (2,443 m) in length and is at an elevation of 194 ft (59 m).[9]

Embraer 190s, Airbus A300, Airbus A310, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus 340 Boeing 737s, Boeing 747s, Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, Lockheed L-1011 TriStars and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s can land at the airport.


A large expansion programme was underway by 2003 and as of July 2006 the final phase was completed with 7 gates equipped with jetways, and room for 20 airplanes to park. It had been reported in the recent past that the runway would be lengthened by 800 m (2,625 ft), but to date this projected has not begun, despite the government's great achievements in building new airports elsewhere in Nicaragua, or greatly overhauling existing airport/airfield infrastructure in other locations as well.[10]

About 360 individuals are employed at the airport. Facilities within the airport include a tourist information desk, bank, restaurants, bars, post office, souvenir shops, duty-free shops, lounges and more. To make use of the VIP lounge there are five rate options: Normal, Corporate, Affiliated Credit Cards, Minors and Infants. The types of services in the VIP lounge include checking baggage and documents with customs and immigration plus the airline; a bar service; snacks etc.[11]


Augusto C. Sandino International Airport is Nicaragua's main international gateway. Domestic flights fly between Bluefields and the Corn Islands airports while also serving a number of airstrips to the country's east. The airport is accessed by the Panamerican Highway, known as the Carretera Norte. The airport serves as the hub for Avianca Nicaragua.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Aeroméxico Connect Mexico City
American AirlinesDallas/Fort Worth,[12] Miami
AviancaGuatemala City, Miami, San José (CR), San Salvador
Avianca NicaraguaBluefields, Bonanza, Corn Island, Emerald Coast, Ometepe, Puerto Cabezas, Rosita, San Carlos, San Juan de Nicaragua (Greytown), Siuna, Tegucigalpa, Waspam
Charter: Montelimar Beach
Copa AirlinesGuatemala City, Panama City–Tocumen, San José (CR)
Delta Air LinesAtlanta
Spirit AirlinesFort Lauderdale
United AirlinesHouston–Intercontinental
Volaris Costa RicaSan José (CR), San Salvador


Amerijet InternationalMiami
UPS AirlinesMiami


Traffic figures[edit]

Lockheed L-188 Electra of TAN Airlines (Transportes Aéreos Nacionales S.A.) operating at Las Mercedes Airport, Managua, Nicaragua in 1970s
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 arriving to Managua. The carrier's route from Miami International Airport is one of the well-traveled routes from the airport. American operates 23 flights per week to 2 destinations in the United States.
Traffic by calendar year. Official Government Statistics
Passengers Change from previous year Aircraft operations Change from previous year Cargo
(metric tons)
Change from previous year
2006 979,508 Decrease 6.96% 30,897 Decrease 0.30% 19,223 Increase 0.05%
2007 1,051,830 Increase 7.38% 30,609 Decrease 0.93% 21,727 Increase13.03%
2008 1,138,626 Increase 8.25% 31,705 Increase 3.58% 19,129 Decrease11.96%
2009 1,090,004 Decrease 4.27% 31,677 Decrease 0.09% 18,946 Decrease 0.96%
2010 1,102,196 Increase 1.12% 30,030 Decrease 5.20% 25,981 Increase37.13%
2011 1,120,147 Increase 1.63% 28,855 Decrease 3.91% 22,330 Decrease14.05%
2012 1,201,141 Increase 7.23% 30,697 Increase 6.38% 23,531 Increase 5.38%
2013 1,206,172 Increase 0.42% 29,955 Decrease 2.42% 22,281 Decrease 5.41%
2014 1,311,965 Increase 8.77% 29,326 Decrease 2.10% 23,375 Increase 4.91%
2015 1,499,756 Increase14.31% 32,173 Increase 9.71% 29,034 Increase24.21%
2016 1,533,034 Increase2.22% 36,822 Increase 14.45% 25,383 Decrease12.57%
2017 1,627,527 Increase6.16% 36,510 Decrease 0.85% 25,639 Increase1.01%
Source: Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aviation. Statistical Reports
(Years 2007,[13] 2008,[14] 2009,[15] 2010,[16] 2011,[17] 2012,[18] 2013,[19] 2014,[20] 2015[21] and 2016[22])

Top international destinations[edit]

Busiest international routes to and from MGA (Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2016)
Airport 2014 2015 2016 Δ 14-15 Δ 15-16 Carriers
1 Miami, United States 407,800 443,800 470,000 Increase08.8% Increase05.9% American, Avianca
2 Houston, United States 172,400 211,400 194,000 Increase022.6% Decrease08.2% Spirit, United
3 Panama City, Panama 174,000 196,600 197,700 Increase013.0% Increase01.1% Copa
4 San Salvador, El Salvador 165,600 175,900 145,000 Increase06.2% Decrease030.9% Avianca, Volaris
5 San José, Costa Rica 78,500 79,900 100,000 Increase01.7% Increase025.1% Avianca, Copa, Volaris
6 Atlanta, United States 87,100 96,500 97,000 Increase010.7% Increase00.5% Delta
7 Guatemala City, Guatemala 42,500 52,800 86,000 Increase024.2% Increase062.9% Avianca, Copa
8 Mexico City, Mexico 3,500 45,700 52,000 Increase01,222.8% Increase013.7% Aeroméxico Connect
Source: Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI). Transportation Statistical Yearbook of Nicaragua (Years 2014,[20] 2015[21] and 2016[22]).

Traffic Share of Airlines flying to MGA[edit]

Airline Percentage of Passengers Transported (2015)
Panama Copa Airlines 31%
El Salvador Avianca El Salvador 20%
United States American Airlines 15%
United States United Airlines 14%
United States Delta Air Lines 7%
United States Spirit Airlines 6%
Mexico Aeromexico 3%
Cuba Aero Caribbean 2%
Nicaragua Avianca Nicaragua 1%
Venezuela Conviasa 1%
Costa Rica Nature Air 1%
Total 100.0%


  1. ^ (in Spanish)Publicación de Información Aeronáutica de la República de Nicaragua
  2. ^ (in Spanish) Anuario Estadístico de Transporte de Nicaragua 2016
  3. ^ Velásquez SevillaMi, Mirna. "Aeropuerto vuelve a ser Sandino". La Prensa (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  4. ^ "Aeropuerto Internacional "Augusto C. Sandino"" (PDF) (in Spanish). EAAI. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  5. ^ Westcott, Kathryn (May 22, 2006). "Flying from where?; Cultural Heritage". BBC News. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "History". EAAI. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  7. ^ "Managua International Airport". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  8. ^ "Cultural" Archived 2014-04-09 at the Wayback Machine., El Nuevo Diario, 19 February 2000
  9. ^ "Technical Information". EAAI. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  10. ^ "Projects in Progress". EAAI. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  11. ^ "VIP Lounge". EAAI. Archived from the original on August 9, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  12. ^ "American Airlines Customers Gain More Access To Mexico, The Caribbean And Latin America With Six New Routes". Yahoo Finance. January 29, 2015. Archived from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2007. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  14. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2008. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  15. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2009. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  16. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2010. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  17. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2011. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  18. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2012. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  19. ^ Anuario Estadistico 2013. Instituto Nicaragüense de Aeronáutica Civil
  20. ^ a b Anuario Estadístico de Transporte de Nicaragua 2014. Ministerio de Transporte e Infraestructura (MTI)
  21. ^ a b Anuario Estadístico de Transporte de Nicaragua 2015. Ministerio de Transporte e Infraestructura (MTI)
  22. ^ a b Anuario Estadístico de Transporte de Nicaragua 2016. Ministerio de Transporte e Infraestructura (MTI)