Simón Bolívar International Airport (Colombia)
Simón Bolívar International Airport
Aeropuerto internacional Simón Bolívar
|Operator||Aeropuertos de Oriente|
|Serves||Santa Marta, Colombia|
|Elevation AMSL||22 ft / 7 m|
Simón Bolívar International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Simón Bolívar) (IATA: SMR, ICAO: SKSM) is the airport serving Santa Marta city. The airport is located 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of Downtown Santa Marta, the capital of the Magdalena Department, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of the municipality of Ciénaga in Colombia.
It is operated by Aeropuertos De Oriente S.A.S., through a concession agreement with Aerocivil. The airport was recognized as an international airport in 2007, but it is operating domestic flights only and currently serves as hub for low-cost carrier Viva Air Colombia.
The construction of the Santa Marta airport was inaugurated on December 8, 1949, by the company Líneas Aéreas Nacionales, for the Magdalena Department, a modern airport that will satisfy pressing and urgent regional needs. Back in those days, the airport had exceptional location conditions since it was used to operate by water and land. The dirt track was located parallel to the sea and is built in two stages: the first with 1,200 meters long and the second with an extension to 1,000. For the operation of seaplanes, there is sufficient depth.
These ships can reach about 50 meters from the airport building. The preliminary plans for the terminal building were under study and approval by the Aerocivil and once approved the LANZA Company began its construction to complete it in the shortest possible time. it was also equipped with a modern control tower with all the devices for meteorological observations. At present, the ground movement works at Simón Bolívar Airport was progressing satisfactorily, under the direction of LANZA's engineering chief, Enrique Pérez Ayala. Santa Marta has, in its airport, a key to its development and progress.
Viva Air Colombia Hub
In May 2018, Viva Air Colombia announced to open its third operational base in Santa Marta airport, began in October 2018 and became the first airline to operate as hub on the airport. The new hub provided connections to destinations such as San Andrés and Bucaramanga, ended in beginning of 2019. In August 2018, Viva Air Colombia announced an international route to Miami from Santa Marta airport, which started on 18 December 2018, the destination ended on April 2019.
The airport has a new medical health care facility for primary services, a new check-in area, airline offices, a new food square, renovated restrooms, and indoor ATMs. Avianca, LATAM Colombia and Viva Colombia are the only commercial carriers that operate passenger flights in this airport. The airport resides at an elevation of 22 feet (7 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 01/19 with an asphalt surface measuring 1,700 by 40 metres (5,577 ft × 131 ft).
Renovation and expansion
The airport facilities were outdated and insufficient for the recent increase of tourism in Santa Marta, which had between 1.5 million and 1.7 million domestic passengers in 2016 and 2017. Renovation of the airport facilities began on February 2, 2015. The project investment had an investment of more than 109,500 million COP (US$37 million, approximately) and it took 36 months (3 years) to be completely expanded and renovated.
This renovation comprises the expansion of the new terminal building from 6,271 m2 (67,500 sq ft) to 15,413 m2 (165,900 sq ft) with spacious check-in area with 24 counters and capacity to serve up to 2.6 million passengers per year.
The parking lot was increased from 2,070 m2 (22,300 sq ft) to 5,742 m2 (61,810 sq ft), and has parking for 33 taxis and 7 minibuses. The underground parking lot has space for 170 cars and 44 motorcycles, five baggage carousels, and new air-conditioning systems.
The apron area went from 19,396 m2 (208,780 sq ft) to 30,702 m2 (330,470 sq ft), with five glass-walled jet bridges capable of taking Airbus A318, A319, A320, Embraer 170, Embraer 190, Boeing B737 and B767 aircraft.
The new control tower is 22.6 metres (74 ft) high with eight floors and independent access. It has operated since May 31, 2016.
The renovation and expansion of the airport was completed in February 2018.
The airport's runway is surrounded by the beach and sea, which restricted its length. Because of the short runway, it is one of the shortest of any major airport in Colombia. Passenger and Cargo airliners have never arrived on aircraft larger than the Airbus A321 or equivalent. No wide-body passenger airliners have ever been scheduled at Santa Marta airport.
In March 2017, when Germán Vargas Lleras was the Vice President of Colombia, he stated that extension of the runway will be extended over the sea and would cost 350,000 million COP (US$70 million, approx). The National Government would invest 200,000 million COP in the runway, with the rest invested by the Magdalena Department.
The runway will meet the minimum length requirements for the operation of wide-body aircraft and also international destinations. The runway would go over the sea from Category C3 1,700 by 40 metres (5,577 ft × 131 ft) to Category D4 2,200 by 45 metres (7,218 ft × 148 ft).
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at the airport. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all regular scheduled flights are currently suspended.
|LATAM Colombia||Bogotá, Medellín–Córdova|
|Viva Air Colombia||Bogotá, Medellín–Córdova, Pereira|
|Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas||Bogotá|
Busiest domestic routes (2018)
|1.||Bogotá, Cundinamarca||1,293,899||Avianca, LATAM Colombia, Viva Air Colombia|
|2.||Medellín, Antioquia||461,078||Avianca, LATAM Colombia, Viva Air Colombia|
|3.||Cali, Valle del Cauca||107,108||Avianca|
Santa Marta Airport is also easily accessible by bus, operated by SETP and STU.
Simon Bolivar Airport is located near the motorway Transversal del Caribe
Taxis are available at Taxicab stand located outside the Terminal.
Incidents and accidents
- On August 4, 1982, Aerotal, flight HK-2559, a Boeing 727 aircraft, landed several meters before reaching the head of the runway, bounced off the runway and lost the left main landing gear, causing the aircraft to leave the track and end up in the safety zone.
- On November 29, 1982, Aerotal, flight HK-2560, a Boeing 727 aircraft, suffered a hydraulic fault and when landing, the left main wheel was retracted and the jet left the runway.
- On July 17, 2007, AeroRepública flight 7330, an Embraer ERJ-190 aircraft, overshot the runway, went down an embankment, and ended up with the front end of the aircraft immersed on the ocean.
In popular culture
- The airport appears in the movie American Made, starring Tom Cruise, about an American pilot recruited by the CIA for covert operations of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and then was a DEA informant. The movie was released on September 29, 2017.
- (in Spanish) "SKSM - Santa Marta" (PDF). 7 July 2011.. Unidad Administrativa Especial de Aeronáutica Civil (UAEAC). Accessed 16 October 2009.
- Google Maps – Simón Bolívar
- "Viva Air Colombia will open a base in Santa Marta". Aviator-Newsroom. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
- "Viva Air inaugurará la ruta Santa Marta-Miami". Hoy Diario Del Magdalena. 11 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
- "Viva Air suspende ruta Santa Marta – Miami por baja ocupación". Reportur. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Santa Marta VOR
- "El 2 de febrero inician obras del Aeropuerto Simón Bolívar (In Spanish)". Hoy Diario Del Magdalena. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "Get to know the renewed Simón Bolívar airport in Santa Marta (In Spanish)". Hoy Diario Del Magdalena. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- "the santa marta airport is already changing (In Spanish)". Agencia Nacional de Infrastructura. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- "This is the new face of Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta (In Spanish)". Hoy Diario Del Magdalena. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
- "New control tower at Simón Bolívar airport in Santa Marta (In Spanish)". Agencia Nacional de Infrastructura. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "They will allocate $ 300 million for new airport runway (In Spanish)". Hoy Diario del Magdalena. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "AeroRepública flight 7330". Aviation Safety Network. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009.