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Read our latest feature:   Show issue: MEBAA
Aeris gives consortium the nod to create terminal
Remodelling of the GAT at Juan Santamaría airport is scheduled to begin this July and is expected to be completed by September 2019. All private aviation ground handlers can operate through it.
Universal Aviation is part of a consortium chosen to build and manage Costa Rica’s first General Aviation Terminal.
Read this story in our July 2019 printed issue.

Aeris Holdings has selected GAT SJO, a consortium composed of Universal Aviation Costa Rica and local partners, to manage a new general aviation terminal in Costa Rica at Juan Santamaría International airport. The facility will be exclusively available to international private operations and is the first facility of its kind in Costa Rica. It will operate under the name GAT SJO General Aviation Terminal.

Aeris, which has an agreement with the Costa Rican government to invest and operate the airport until 2026, selected GAT SJO to remodel and manage the terminal following a public request for proposal.

The future GAT is part of the new domestic terminal at the airport, an infrastructure project that includes 15,260 sq ft and has a capacity to accommodate up to 600 passengers in peak time. That project was delivered in May 2018 and required an investment of $12.5 million.

Remodelling of the GAT area of the terminal is scheduled to begin this July and is expected to be completed by September 2019. All private aviation ground handlers, as well as home-based operators (independent owners travelling internationally) at MROC will be allowed to operate through it.

“We are thrilled that the Costa Rican government, airport authorities and Aeris recognised the need for a dedicated GAT to improve the privacy, experience, safety and security of private operators at MROC/SJO,” says Universal's senior VP for Latin America and the Caribbean Adolfo Aragon. “The new terminal will drastically reduce private operators' time on the ground. It will also result in a vastly different experience compared to the current inbound/outbound process, where they are mixed with commercial passengers in shared lines to clear CIQ.”

With the new process, upon deplaning private passengers will be shuttled by their handling agents a short ride from the parking area to the GAT, which will have a dedicated area for CIQ.

“Private operators will no longer have to clear formalities inside the airline terminal in potentially long lines, and passengers will no longer be separated from their baggage, which was previously mixed into commercial baggage carousels, adding more complexity to the operation and stress to the passengers,” confirms Aragon.

Executive director of Aeris Costa Rica Rafael Mencia adds: “Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría has been recognised for the increase in passengers year-over-year, and the improvement of our facilities; adding the first exclusive terminal for private aviation operators is an important milestone and the culmination of a comprehensive project that we started many years ago. This project significantly improves the accessibility and attractiveness of the country, which translates into more opportunities for investment and development.”

In 2018, Juan Santamaría airport received more than 800 private operations and projects around 1,000 for 2019.

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