Quetzaltenango Airport

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Los Altos Airport
Aeropuerto Los Altos
Summary
Airport type Joint
Owner Guatemalan Government
Operator Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Serves Quetzaltenango
Location Quetzaltenango
Elevation AMSL 7,779 ft / 2,371 m
Coordinates 14°51′56″N 091°30′07″W / 14.86556°N 91.50194°W / 14.86556; -91.50194Coordinates: 14°51′56″N 091°30′07″W / 14.86556°N 91.50194°W / 14.86556; -91.50194
Map
Los Altos Airport is located in Guatemala
Los Altos Airport
Los Altos Airport
Location in Guatemala
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,103 6,900 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 2,937
Source: DAFIF[1]

Los Altos Airport (IATA: AAZICAO: MGQZ) (Aeropuerto Los Altos,[2]) serves the city of Quetzaltenango also known as "Xelajú" or "Xela" and western Guatemala. It is operated and administrated by DGAC - Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil de Guatemala.

General[edit]

'Quetzaltenango Airport is located in the Guatemalan highlands, in the northeastern part of the city of Quetzaltenango.

The airport is currently undergoing massive construction works, as part of a nationwide airport rehabilitation program. Serving Guatemalas second largest city, AAZ aims to gain international status, along with La Aurora International Airport and Mundo Maya International Airport. The whole region hopes to profit economically from this new airport. So far, the next airport to Quetzaltenango with regular airline connections was 200 km (120 mi) away, in Guatemala City. Until 2006 the airfield in "Xela" only consisted of a grass/gravel runway. It had no significant terminal building and only a small hangar. Air traffic was very limited due to many missing essential features for a safe and unobstructed operation. In September 2006 construction works began,[3] which include:[4]

  • extension, asphalting, signposting and illuminating of the runway and taxiway
  • construction of a small terminal building and apron for four planes
  • construction of a parking area

An emergency operations center has been installed at the airport in order to respond faster to disasters like hurricane Stan in the future.[5] The new runway was inaugurated by president Oscar Berger on January 10, 2008. The terminal is still under construction, and it would be ready by late 2013.

Criticism[edit]

  • It was found out that, when Óscar Berger inaugurated the runway in January 2008, construction works had not been finished. The markings on the runway were faked for the official opening ceremony and had to be removed again for final coating.[2]
  • The terminal building was revealed to be only a small house, not a terminal building of international standards as anticipated .
  • The tower has not been built, hence safe operations are questionable at the moment.

Aviation in Quetzaltenango[edit]

  • The first airport was built in 1945 at La Esperanza and was transferred to the present site in 1955. Aviateca had daily flights between Xela and Guatemala City, charging 25 Q those days.
  • In 1992 Miguel Angel Castro Conde father and son constructed a two-seater aircraft in Quetzaltenango, finishing it in 2003 and naming it "Quetzaltenango 1". It is said that it is the first and only ever built airplane in Central America,.[6][7]

Quetzaltenango 1[edit]

Quetzaltenango 1 is the name of the first aircraft built in Central America, Miguel Angel Castroconde is responsible for the airplane with the name Quetzaltenango 1, plane he built with the help of his son becoming the PrimerCconstructor an aircraft in Guatemala.

On May 12, 2003 After the first flight that lasted 30 minutes, followed by further testing done only to a volunteer who offered to accompany him, now see it is regular with his son and friends who ask you to take them to feel Quetzaltenango the excitement of seeing a plane built in this city.

Airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Aviones Comerciales de Guatemala (Avcom) charter flights
ARM Aviacion S.A., ARMSA[8] Guatemala City[9]
Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos Guatemala City, Charter flights

Statistics[edit]

In 2016, the airport handled 2,937 passengers.[10]

Incidents[edit]

On 1 November 1998 a Douglas DC-3 (N3FY) carrying 18 crew and passengers crashed near the airport into mountainous terrain. Bad weather during approach is the probable cause. There were 11 fatalities.[11]

On 13 October 1999 a private Bell 206 helicopter (TG-AMA) crashed near Quetzaltenango. Both occupants were killed.[12]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]