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Revamping Guanacaste’s Gateway: $36 Million Runway Project Approved

Construction activities are planned to occur at night, from 9 PM to 9 AM

par Yves Pepito Malette
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The Guanacaste International Airport, located near Liberia in Costa Rica, is set to undergo significant renovations starting next March. This initiative, aimed at refurbishing its sole runway, was announced this week by government officials. The $36 million project is designed to enhance the runway to accommodate a continuous increase in traffic and to welcome larger aircraft over the next decade.

The renovation work will focus on repairing and waterproofing the runway’s pavement structure and improving drainage systems to withstand heavy rainfall.

Funding for these renovations has been secured by the National Emergency Commission as part of the country’s reconstruction efforts following significant damage caused by a tropical storm last July. Officials have stated that these repairs are critically necessary to maintain safe operational conditions, especially given the rapid increase in air traffic at Liberia Airport in recent years.

The airport serves as a primary gateway for tourists traveling to the popular beach resorts in Guanacaste. The Minister of Transport, Luis Roberto Sáenz, has confirmed that once completed, the revitalized runway will enable the airport to continue accommodating larger aircraft for at least the next eight years, considering the anticipated increase in tourism.

Officials have expressed that these renovations have been long overdue to ensure that Costa Rica’s second busiest airport maintains the highest standards of safety and reliability. They anticipate that the short-term nighttime closures will yield long-term dividends for the region’s travel sector.

On Saturday, December 23, Guanacaste International Airport experienced its busiest day, welcoming over 10,252 passengers. That day, the terminal managed a total of 31 operations, including 6 domestic flights and 25 international flights, mainly from the United States and Canada.

In January 2023, Guanacaste Airport had already set records by welcoming 181,840 passengers, marking the first record of the year. In March of the same year, the airport set a new record with 184,617 passengers, surpassing previous marks. The third record was set on Saturday, March 11, on the busiest day in its history at that time, with 9,922 tourists.

The timing of this announcement and investment is highly praised and welcomed, considering the increase in traffic and the popularity of the airport and Guanacaste as a travel destination.

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