SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–The Costa Rican Technical Council of Civil Aviation (CTAC in spanish) informed today of its expansion plans for the Quepos/Manuel Antonio Aerodrome at La Managua (code: XQP). The airport will become a regional domestic and international airport, capable of servicing aircraft as the regional jets Canadair CRJs, Fokker 70s and the ATR-72s. Today the aerodrome receives up to 20 flights a day, most of them domestic from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Two small carriers service Quepos/Manuel Antonio, SANSA Airlines (property of Avianca) and Nature Air. By 2015 the airport will be able to receive not only domestic flights but also internationals, since the new terminal will have Inmigration and Customs areas. Alvaro Vargas the Director of the Civil Aviation Board explained the upgrading consists in a longer and wider runway, bigger ramp, new airport terminal, fire station and hangars for airplane maintenance. The total cost of the upgrade will be of $5 million and its expected to bring more development to the area, well known as one of the “hottest” leisure destinations in Costa Rica. Quepos/Manuel Antonio Regional Airport will be the natural gateway to the Central Pacific, close to national parks, rain forests and spectacular resorts. It is also expected that airlines like Avianca would be interested in opening international services from its Central American hub at Comalapa International Airport in El Salvador, connecting the eleven North American gateways the airline services. Also new international Costa Rican carriers like Ticos Air and Tica Air International (property of Air Panama) are also expected to open flights to Quepos/Manuel Antonio once the airport has the new terminal building.
LA FORTUNA, Costa Rica–January 2nd was a close call for several passengers on board Costa Rican domestic carrier Nature Air’s DHC-6 Twin Otter (registration TI-BFN) that crashed landed at La Fortuna landing strip. The flight originated in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose and was normal until the arrival in this town north of the country and gateway to the popular Arenal Volcano. Fortunately no one was injured but the airplane suffered damages to its structure. It is not clear if it will be a total loss. Nature Air is Costa Rica’s second domestic carrier (even though it operates two international flights to Managua, Nicaragua and Bocas del Toro, Panama). The airline operates old Canadian de Havilland DHC-6s and has been under scrutiny for safety reasons. The authorities of the Costa Rican Civil Aviation Board (DGAC in Spanish) will investigate in detail the unfortunate incident of January 2nd.