El Dorado International Airport

El Dorado International Airport

Infobox Airport
name = El Dorado International Airport
nativename = Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado

type = Public / Military
owner =
operator = OPAIN S.A.
city-served =
location =
elevation-f = 8,361
elevation-m = 2,628
coordinates = coord|04|42|05|N|74|08|49|W|type:airport
website = [http://www.elnuevodorado.com/ www.elnuevodorado.com]
metric-elev = yes
metric-rwy = yes
r1-number = 13L/31R
r1-length-f = 12,467
r1-length-m = 3,800
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 13R/31L
r2-length-f = 12,467
r2-length-m = 3,800
r2-surface = Asphalt
footnotes =

El Dorado International Airport Airport codes|BOG|SKBO is an international airport located in Bogotá, Colombia. It is the largest Latin American airport in terms of cargo movements 585,598 tons (2007) and the fourth in terms of passenger traffic, only behind Mexico's Benito Juarez International Airport, and the two main airports in São Paulo,São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport and Congonhas-São Paulo International Airport, transporting 12,763,979 passengers in 2007; as well as the largest airport in Colombia and the main international and domestic air gateway in the country, serving as an important hub for Avianca (the national flag carrier of Colombia) and AeroRepública. It is managed by Opain (acronym of "Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional"), a consortium composed of Colombian construction / engineering firms and the Swiss Flughafen Zürich AG. Opain will also operate the airport for the next 20 years.

El Dorado is, politically and economically, the most important airport in Colombia and serves as the nation's primary international gateway. It handles all domestic and international flights into Bogotá, D.C. and boasts the world's third largest landing field 6.9 km² (1,705 acres) of land. El Dorado is located about 15 km (9.3 mi) west of the city center. The airport enjoys a connection with Avenida El Dorado (Calle 26) one of Bogotá's fastest runways which runs across the city in the east-west axis onto the city center and permanent public transportation (buses and taxis). It is expected that in year 2008, will start the construction of the TransMilenio, which will connect the airport with the massive transportation system of the city.


The airport has two passenger terminals, the main terminal, El Dorado, named after the famed legend of "El Dorado", was built in 1959 and handles all international arrivals, as well as all other airlines and all of Avianca's international flights. Check-in counters, ticket counters, immigration office and customs are located on the lower level while information boards, information office, waiting rooms and emigration are located on the upper level.

The main building has two concourses, the national concourse and the international concourse. The national concourse has 11 gates and additional 5 for regional flights. The international concourse has 9 gates. This main building has a passenger area of 54,000 m² (581,251 square feet) and provides different services such as travel agencies, drug stores, restaurants and cafeterias, book stores and craft shops, ATM machines and Duty Free shops. Telecom offers telephone service for international and national calls, as well as fax and Internet service. At the national and international arrivals, passengers can find tourist information offices and transportation services within the city. The second terminal is the Puente Aéreo Terminal ("Air Bridge Terminal", in English) which opened in 1981, is a privately owned terminal that exclusively serves Avianca's and its subsidiary SAM's, domestic and regional flights. Initially, the terminal exclusively served passengers on the Miami, New York-JFK, Cali, Medellín, Pasto, and Montería routes. Newly renovated (Oct, 2006), after an investment of 7.5 million dollars El Puente Aéreo has become the most modern domestic terminal in Latin America. The terminal handles a total of more than 120 daily flights which carry up to 12,000 passengers per day. It adds, as well, a constructed area of 4,416 m² (47,533 square feet) and 14 domestic gates. Some of the benefits of the Puente Aéreo Terminal include record connecting times between domestic flights. The terminal also provides additional services for travelers and visitors, such as access to shopping facilities, national and international calls, taxi services, ATM machines, restaurants and fast food restaurants and book shops.


The El Dorado Passenger Terminal was designed during the government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. Its construction began in 1955 and entered in service at the end of 1959, replacing the interim terminal, and joining other portions of the then brand new airport. The new terminal consisted of several taxiways, maintenance platforms, parking areas, a cellar, passenger halls, Mezzanine areas and other amenities. Its second floor consisted of the departures area with, executive waiting rooms, and restaurants. The Third floor consisted mainly of offices for the airlines and the offices of other airport related services. The fourth floor held the Offices of Management and Dependencies of the managing company which accounted through to the Fifth floor. The Sixth floor contained mainly the dependencies of meteorology and power station of air navigation aids of the ECA. The Seventh floor held the route control facilities for the runways and taxiways, and the Eighth floor contained air traffic radar controllers. The Ninth floor contained the airport's electrical maintenance and offices, and the Tenth floor held the control tower and area air traffic controllers.

In 1973, the airport hit a milestone by serving nearly three million passengers, and processing nearly 5 million pieces of luggage. That year turned out to be one of most prosperous for the industry of aviation, registering high passenger growth in both domestic and international loads. In the year, the necessity for a second runway at El Dorado was expressed under concerned that the explosive growth would lead to overcongestion in due time.

In 1981, Avianca undertook the construction of the Puente Aéreo Terminal inaugurated by President Julio César Turbay Ayala, to serve its important, high density flights from Bogotá to Cali, Medellín, Miami and New York City.

In 1990, the Aeronáutica Civil de Colombia (Civil Aeronautic Administrative Special Unit - AEROCIVIL) moved to the third floor in the main building. During this same year, the Centro de Estudios Aeronáuticos (Aeronautical studies center) was constructed and at the east part of the airport the building for the Centro Nacional de Aeronavegación (National center for aeronavigation).

In 1998, the second runway was officially opened.

Over the past few years, the baggage claim areas has been extended on both the northern and southern portions of the airport, and the Departure lounges towards the west have also been greatly expanded, adding more restaurants and shops.

Avianca's main hub

On December 10, 1998, Avianca officially opened its hub in Bogotá, offering an estimated 6,000 possible connections per week, including greater numbers of frequencies, schedules and destinations served. Thus, the airline began to profit from the geographical location, population, and infrastructure of Colombia’s capital city in order to benefit the country, as well as international travellers. Connections between domestic and international destinations are currently operated directly and through codesharing agreements with airlines such as Delta Air Lines, Mexicana, Lacsa (part of Grupo Taca), Iberia and Air Canada.

Operations out of the Bogotá hub allow travelers to easily connect:
*Between Domestic Destinations (such as Medellín to Cartagena).
*From a domestic destination to an international destination (Such as Bucaramanga to México City).
*From an international destination to a domestic city (Such as Miami to Bucaramanga).
*Between two international destinations (Such as Madrid to Lima).
*and allowing for simpler codeshare connections (such as Toronto to Cali with Air Canada and Avianca).

The hub also features facilities for easy transits, such as exclusive check-in counters for travelers in transit, as well as buses for the internal transportation between Puente Aéreo and El Dorado terminals, and a special lounge for international transit passengers to avoid having to go through Colombian customs and immigration between transits.

Airport expansion

On August 24 2006, the Colombian government awarded a contract for a viable external investment of at least 650 million USD for the airport's expansion and modernization to Opain (acronym of "Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional"), a consortium composed of Colombian construction / engineering firms and the Swiss Flughafen Zürich AG. Opain will also operate the airport for the next 20 years.

The expansion plan includes:

* The construction of a new international terminal and the modernization of the current terminal (future national terminal) will have a total of 133,875 m² (1,441,018 square feet) for passengers, 16 gates, 144 Check-in counters and 58,924 parking spaces. The airport will be equipped with the most modern baggage handle technology as well as flight information systems and security and guarding mechanisms. The airport will have a capacity of 16 million passengers a year.
* The construction of a new cargo terminal, which will allow easier access for trucks, 68,000 m² (731,945 square feet) for storage, 7,000 m² (75,347 square feet) for offices and 26 parking positions for planes.
* The construction of a new office building annexed to the new international terminal, the building will be 6 floors tall and will have an area of 4,500 m² (48,437 square feet).
* The construction of a new maintenance area (88,000 m² /947,224 square feet) with an appropriate turbine tester and the sound barriers that are necessary to avoid noise pollution.

All the buildings will be earthquake-resistant.

The Civil Aviation Agency (Aeronaútica Civil) and the Department of Transportation (Ministerio de Transporte) have to make a decision over a proposal made by Opain, in which the domestic and international cargo areas are to be placed at the west part of the complex, making it easy for trucks and cargo vehicles to access the cargo areas without having to go into the city. This proposal will allow as well, further expansions of the passenger terminal.

Construction began on September 20, 2007 and should end in 2012.

The first part of this massive construction plan was opened to the public on March 20 2008. After 6 months of constant work, the check-in area was expanded, the new CUTE system was installed as well as a new baggage handling system. All these works were made in order to help with the already chaotic airport until the new terminal is constructed.

The second part was due to initiate on March 20 2008 and has to be open to the public on September 20 2009. This includes a new international cargo terminal, the adecuation of the new national cargo terminal and the demolition of the actual national cargo terminal.

Passenger airlines

El Dorado Terminal

Domestic concourse

The domestic concourse has 11 gates.
* AeroRepública (Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Leticia, Medellín-Cordova, Montería, Pereira, San Andrés Island, Santa Marta)
* AIRES (Armenia, Florencia, Ibagué, Ipiales, Manizales,Medellín-Olaya Herrera, Neiva, Pasto, Popayán, Puerto Asís, Quibdó, Villavicencio, Yopal)
* EasyFly (Arauca, Armenia, Barrancabermeja, Cartago, Ibague, Neiva, Yopal)
* SATENA (Apartadó, Arauca, Buenaventura, Barranquilla, Cali, Corozal, Leticia, Medellín-Olaya Herrera, Neiva, Pasto, Popayán, Providencia, Puerto Asis, Puerto Inírida, Puerto Carreño, Quibdó, San José del Guavire, Saravena, San Andrés Island, Valledupar, Villavicencio)

International concourse

The international concourse has 9 gates.
* AeroGal (Quito)
* Aerolíneas Argentinas (Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Lima)
* AIRES (Maracaibo)
* Air Canada (Toronto-Pearson)
* Air Comet (Madrid)
* Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle)
* American Airlines (Miami)
* Avianca (Barcelona, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Caracas, Fort Lauderdale, Guayaquil, Lima, London-Heathrow [begins winter 2008] , Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, New York-JFK, Oranjestad, Panama City, Porlamar, Punta Cana, Quito, Santo Domingo, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Washington-Dulles, Willemstad)
** SAM (Guayaquil, Oranjestad, San José (CR), Valencia, Willemstad)
* Continental Airlines (Houston-Intercontinental, Newark)
* Copa Holdings
** AeroRepública (Caracas, Panama City)
** Copa Airlines (Panama City)
* Cubana de Aviación (Havana)
* Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, New York-JFK [begins December 18] [ [http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080305/us_colombia_flights.html?.v=1 Delta Air Lines receives DOT Approval for New Routes to Colombia] ] )
* Dutch Antilles Express (Willemstad)
* Iberia (Madrid)
* LAN Airlines (Miami, Santiago de Chile)
** LAN Perú (Lima)
* Mexicana de Aviación (Mexico City)
* Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale)
** Lacsa (San José (CR))
** TACA Perú (Lima)
* Varig (São Paulo-Guarulhos)

Puente Aéreo Terminal

The Puente Aéreo Terminal has been Avianca's exclusive terminal since 1991, it has 14 gates. It operates all the regional and domestic services of Avianca and its subsidiary SAM from Bogotá. 19 destinations in the country can be reached from the Puente Aéreo:

* Avianca (Armenia, Barrancabermeja, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Ibagué, Manizales, Medellín-Cordova, Montería, Neiva, Pasto, Pereira, Popayan, Rioacha, San Andrés Island, Santa Marta, Valledupar)

Charter services

* Avianca operated by Helicol
* Searca

Cargo airlines

Domestic Terminal

* AeroSucre
* AeroSur
* Colombian Air Cargo
* Cargo Express
* Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas
* Tampa Cargo
* Avianca Cargo

International Terminal

* AeroSucre
* Arrow Air
* Atlas Air
* Cargo B
* Cargolux
* Centurion Air Cargo
* Cielos del Perú
* Fedex
* Focus Air Cargo
* Florida West International Airways
* Kalitta Air
* LAN Cargo
* Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas
* Martinair Cargo
* MasAir
* Panavia
* Polar Air Cargo
* Tampa Cargo
* Vensecar Internacional

Accidents and incidents

*Avianca Flight 52, flying on a Bogota to Medellin to New York JFK route, crashed on January 25, 1990 on Long Island after running out of fuel.
*An Air France flight from Eldorado Airport to Quito, Ecuador, using an aircraft leased from TAME and flown with Ecuadorian crew, crashed on April 20, 1998 into a mountain near Bogota. All 43 passengers and 10 crew died. [ [http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/afa.htm Fatal Events Since 1970 for Air France] ] [ [http://www.airdisaster.com/cgi-bin/view_details.cgi?date=04201998&reg=HC-BSU&airline=Transportes+A%E9reos+Militares+Ecuatorianos AirDisaster.Com Accident Database] ]
*On July 7, 2008, a Kalitta Air Boeing 747-209B (N714CK serial number 22446/519) crashed shortly after departing from El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá at 3:55 am. The plane was en route to Miami, Florida, with a shipment of flowers. After reporting a fire in one of the engines, the plane attempted the return to the airport but crashed near the village of Madrid, Colombia. One of the plane's engines hit a farm house, killing an adult and two children who lived there. The crew of eight survived. [cite news | url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jpxEvFKTQrHypeau2Va_YnnF3HGg | title=US cargo plane crashes into Colombian house, 3 dead | publisher=AFP | date=2008-07-07 | accessdate=2008-07-07] [cite news |title=US plane crashes into Colombian house |url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/us-plane-crashes-into-colombian-house/2008/07/08/1215282783048.html |publisher="The Sydney Morning Herald" |date=2008-07-08 |accessdate=2008-07-08 ]

See also

* Guaymaral Airport


External links

* [http://www.elnuevodorado.com/ es icon en icon El Dorado International Airport Official Site]
* [http://www.aerocivil.gov.co/ es icon Civil Aeronautic Administrative Special Unit - Aerocivil]
* [http://www.aerocivil.gov.co/Itinerarios/index.htm es icon Authorized itineraries by the Aerocivil (only passenger airlines)]
* [http://www.aerocivil.gov.co/concesion/Inicio2.htm es icon Official information about El Dorado International Airport concession]

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