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El Dorado International Airport | Wikipedia audio article

El Dorado International Airport | Wikipedia audio article


El Dorado International Airport (IATA: BOG,
ICAO: SKBO) is an international airport serving Bogotá, Colombia and its surrounding areas. The airport is located mostly in the Fontibón
district of Bogotá, although it partially extends into the Engativá district and the
municipality of Funza in the Western Savanna Province of the Cundinamarca Department. In 2017, it served almost 31,000,000 passengers,
770,000 metric tons of cargo, and 304,330 aircraft movements. This makes El Dorado the third busiest airport
in Latin America in terms of passenger traffic, the second busiest in terms of aircraft movements,
and the busiest in terms of cargo. El Dorado is also by far the busiest and most
important airport in Colombia, accounting for just under half (49%) of the country’s
air traffic. El Dorado is the main hub for the Colombian
flag-carrier Avianca, the second largest airline conglomerate in Latin America and the second-oldest
airline in the world. It is also a hub for Copa Airlines Colombia,
LATAM, Satena, EasyFly and many cargo companies. It is owned by the Government of Colombia
and operated by Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional (OPAIN), a consortium composed of Colombian
construction and engineering firms and the Swiss company Flughafen Zürich AG, the company
that operates Zurich International Airport. The airport has been named the best airport
in South America by World Airport Awards. El Dorado received four-star certification
and its staff was rated the best in South America by Skytrax, as well as achieving 42nd
place in Skytrax’s World’s Top 100 Airports in 2017.==History=====Early years===The El Dorado Passenger Terminal was designed
during the government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. Its construction began in 1955 and entered
in service by December 1959, replacing Techo Internatioal Airport, which had been the city’s
main airport since 1930. Before it’s inauguration, Soledad International
Airport in Barranquilla was the nation’s air hub, and was relegated to secondary importance
in the country when El Dorado Airport opened. 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 of other airport related services. The fourth floor held the administrative offices
and its dependencies 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 air traffic controllers. In 1973, the airport accomplished a milestone
by serving nearly three million passengers and processing nearly 5 million units of luggage. That year turned out to be one of the most
prosperous for the industry of aviation, registering high passenger growth in both domestic and
international traffic. Then it became necessary for a second runway
at El Dorado with concerns that the explosive growth would lead to over congestion in the
future. In 1981, Avianca undertook the construction
of the Puente Aéreo Terminal inaugurated by President Julio César Turbay Ayala, to
serve its high density flights from Bogotá to Cali, Medellín, Miami and New York City. In 1990, the Special Administrative Unit of
Civil Aeronautics (Aerocivil) moved to the third floor in the main building. During this same year, the Centro de Estudios
Aeronáuticos and at the east part of the airport the building for the National Center
for Aeronavigation were constructed. In 1998, the second runway was officially
opened.===Avianca’s main hub===
On 10 December 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. Connections between domestic and international
destinations are currently operated directly and through codesharing agreements with airlines
such as Delta Air Lines, Iberia, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Air France. Operations out of the Bogotá hub allow travelers
to easily connect between domestic destinations (such as Pereira San Andrés), from a domestic
destination to an international destination (Such as Cali to Los Angeles), from an international
destination to a domestic city (Such as Ft. Lauderdale to Baranquilla), between two international
destinations (Such as Paris to Guayaquil) and allows for simpler codeshare connections
(such as Atlanta to Cartagena with Delta Air Lines and Avianca). The hub also features facilities for easier
transits, such as exclusive check-in counters for travelers in transit, buses for 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.===Puente Aéreo===Vargas Swamp Lancers, artwork by Rodrigo Arenas
Betancourt In 1981, Avianca undertook the construction
of a new exclusive terminal to be called the Puente Aéreo (Air Bridge), which was eventually
inaugurated by President Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala. Avianca’s original purpose for the terminal
was for flights serving Cali, Medellín, Miami and New York. During the first years of operation and until
2005 Avianca gradually moved all of its domestic operations to the Puente Aéreo and shifted
the Miami and New York operations to the main terminal. This allowed them to streamline their operations
by using space previously assigned to customs and immigration for passenger gates and lounges. The culmination of this process came in 2006
when the airline undertook extensive renovations on the building. However, the airline was mindful of the impending
and current renovations of El Dorado. One possible plan will be demolishing the
Puente Aéreo Terminal, Main terminal and old cargo buildings which will be replaced
with a new mega terminal. Many of the renovations made to the terminal
in 2006 were obviously temporary and designed to be cheap but effective. For example, the walkways for the new gates
are simply floor tiles placed over the old tarmac and the structure is made of aluminum
with plastic sheets instead of glass windows. Passengers must cross the lanes used by buses,
baggage carts and other vehicles in order to reach the aircraft. Once at the gate travellers must climb stairs
to access the plane, the norm in the 1950s and 1960s but has for many years been surpassed
by jetways. In February 2008 Avianca opened a pioneer
store called Aviancastore which sells different products including: toy airplanes, hats, umbrellas,
clothing, stuffed toys, pens, mugs and other such products, all embossed with the company
logo. The store was an instant success and the airline
expanded the concept to various other cities in Colombia.===CATAM military airport===
On 3 September 1932 it was launched the first Military Transport Service in Colombia, when
a Junkers F-13 carried Colonel Luis Acevedo and his party to Leticia. Colonel Acevedo also served as Colombia’s
General Director of aviation. Although the military air transport infrastructure
was not formed yet, that mission was accomplished during the conflict with Peru in a rudimentary
but effective way, with aircraft like the Junkers W-34, Ju-52 and BT-32 Condor. In 1954 he created a “Liaison Squadron” operating
under direct orders of the President of the Republic, at the time, Gen. Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla. The Squadron was located in the Airport of
Techo, the first airport of Bogotá. Its success led to the creation of a Military
Airlift Group, which reached the category of Transportation Base in 1959. By then El Dorado International Airport was
finished, so the Colombian Air Force ordered the transfer of the Unit to an area adjacent
to the new Airport of El Dorado, using the civil airport facilities, while finishing
the construction of a new base. The base was baptized as Comando Aéreo de
Transporte Militar (Military Transportation Air Command) or CATAM. The base was inaugurated on 28 May 1963. The base acquired the status of Operations
and Logistics Support Center by FAC Directive No. 4429 of 8 July 1963, starting operations
on 25 October. In 1968 the first two Hercules C-130B, with
Colombian airplane military numbers FAC-1001 and FAC-1002, were delivered to this base. These aircraft, clearly designed for war missions
and troop and materials transport, were able to use short and unpaved runways used in military
operations through the country, fulfilling the needs of Colombian Air Force. In 1977, the Military Transport Aviation Command
was named after the Colombian aviation pioneer, Honorary Brigadier General Camilo Daza Alvarez. In order to expand its capacity for troop
and cargo transportation in support of surface forces, in their fight against subversion
and drug trafficking, the Air Force acquired new C-130 Hercules aircraft that been used
for security purposes but also for humanitarian assistance. Between 1990 and 1991 the base received from
the U.S. government six C-130B aircraft to support operations to combat drug trafficking
and guerrillas. In 1996 the base opened new ground accesses
through an area devoted to the Military Transport Aviation Command. The narrow street that impeded the entrance
and exit of vehicles was replaced by a dual carriageway and a tunnel that allows access
to vehicular traffic passing below the airplane access ramp to runway number 2 of El Dorado
International Airport. The parking lot was also enlarged to serve
up to 260 vehicles. The base hosts the Colombian Air Force Museum,
which has planes in display that represent the various types used in service during the
85 years history of the force.In 2003 NVG equipment for night vision air operations
was installed in Hercules C-130 and CN-235 Nurtanio airplanes. This increased the operational and support
capacity of the base given to ground Army force, by allowing transportation, parachuting
and aeromedical evacuation on combat runways lacking illumination. In this way Colombian Air Force almost doubled
its operating capacity at this base, since it works 24 hours a day.==Terminals and facilities==New construction and renovations are presently
underway in the terminal area. Once fully completed, the new main terminal
will be known as Terminal 1 (T1). The T1 building is shaped like an “h” and
is divided in two piers or concourses: the international one to the north side and the
domestic pier/concourse on the south side. The new terminal has three airline lounges
(operated by LATAM, Avianca and American Airlines) in the international concourse, as well as
a food court plaza and several retail stores and cafés in the duty-free area. There are also car rental facilities, ticket
counters, ATM’s, telephones, restrooms, luggage storage space and even a small casino. The terminal has complimentary Wi-Fi service. T1 has several check-in counter areas, check-in
kiosks and expanded immigration lanes compared to the previous terminal. “Express lanes” were added for holders of
biometric passports and Global Entry Membership. The new terminal has moving walkways, escalators
and elevators to guarantee universal access and faster connections. The new terminal contains 32 gates: 10 for
international flights, 17 for domestic flights and 5 remote gates. The “Puente Aéreo” is currently Terminal
2 (T2). It has been Avianca’s exclusive terminal for
domestic flights. On 8 June 2014, Avianca will move some of
their domestic flights to T1 and will operate both terminals. This terminal contains a revamped food plaza,
an Avianca premium lounge and several retail stores. The Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics
(Aerocivil) is located in the new Aerocivil Building, located on the airport property. Previously it was located on the fourth floor
of the main terminal building.==Airlines and destinations=====
Passenger===Note: ^1 KLM’s flight from Bogotá to Amsterdam
makes a stop in Cartagena. However, the airline does not have eighth
freedom traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Bogotá and Cartagena. ^2 Turkish Airlines’ flight from Bogotá to
Istanbul makes a stop in Panama City. However, the airline does not have traffic
rights to transport passengers solely between Bogotá and Panama City.===Cargo=====
Statistics====
Accidents and incidents==On 7 June 1973, Vickers Viscount HK-1061 of
Aerolíneas TAO was damaged beyond economic repair in an accident on landing. On 24 January 1980, Douglas C-53D HK-2214
of Aerotal Colombia crashed after an in-flight engine failure following which the propeller
on the engine was feathered. The aircraft was on a test flight. All four on board were killed. On 8 February 1986, Douglas DC-3 HK-3031 of
SAEP Colombia crashed on approach. The port engine had lost power shortly after
take-off on a cargo flight to Rondon Airport and the decision was made to return to Bogotá. Although the aircraft was destroyed in the
post-impact fire, all five people on board survived. On 27 November 1989, Avianca Flight 203, flying
from Bogota to Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport in Cali, was destroyed by a bomb while
flying over Soacha. All 107 passengers and crew and three people
on the ground died. Pablo Escobar bombed the plane in an attempt
to assassinate presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo, who was not on the plane
and was elected President of Colombia in 1990. On 25 January 1990, Avianca Flight 52, flying
on a Bogotá-Medellín-New York JFK route, crashed on Long Island after running out of
fuel. On 20 April 1998, Air France Flight 422 from
Eldorado Airport to Quito, Ecuador, using an aircraft leased from TAME and flown with
Ecuadorian crew, crashed into a mountain near Bogotá. All 43 passengers and 10 crew died. On 7 July 2008, a Kalitta Air Boeing 747-209B
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 returning 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.==Future developments==Due to the high demand for passengers, it
has now become apparent to build a new, more modern airport with much more capacity for
both commercial and cargo flights. Although the original master plan called for
a massive overhaul and expansion of the existing terminal, the Colombian government has now
realized the need to build a new airport. The process began with the creation of the
new terminal. On 7 February 2007, the airport gave a concession
to the consortium Opain. The national government accepted the proposal
with Opain (airport operating company), to demolish the airport on 14 March 2008, after
having given its concession. Initially the grant provided for the modernization
of existing buildings and the construction of some additional buildings connected to
the main terminal, but during the upgrading works (see below, Milestone 1), structural
defects were discovered, which do not compromise the integrity of the building today. Opain from the beginning had proposed to demolish
the aging terminal and had even submitted a new design to replace it, but the government
had strongly opposed it due to pressing budget and legal issues (because it would be a big
change to the terms of the concession, which could make Opain as well as other competitors
who participated in the tender submitted claims), although many sectors of public opinion agreed
with Opain. After the structural problems were discovered,
the government agreed to the demolition of the airport and compensation for the renovations
that Opain had already been hired to perform (Milestone 1). For the airport to handle 16 million passengers
annually and 1.5 million tons of cargo, Opain plans to move the cargo terminal to allow
the expansion of the passenger terminal and ensure access for at least an additional avenue
to 26th Street. On 19 September 2007, the implementation of
Milestone 1 of the plan for modernization and expansion of the airport began. This consists of expanding the current Central
Arrivals Hall of the terminal and installation of the CUTE system at the terminal. This was completed in March 2008. Additionally, the construction of the new
cargo terminal, a new building for the office of civil aviation, a new fire station, an
administrative center and quarantine were completed in September 2009. The third milestone of the project began in
late November 2009. Terminal 2, located on the north side of the
current terminal, will handle all international passengers and its construction was set for
2012. The old building or Terminal 1 will handle
only national passengers, except for Avianca’s which will continue being served on Terminal
Puente Aereo. Soon after Terminal 2 begins its operation,
the old Terminal 1 building will be demolished in order to build a new terminal for national
passengers. On 17 October, the new Terminal 2 was inaugurated
and on the 19th, every international operation was moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. The new El Dorado International Airport will
undoubtedly be the largest infrastructure project in the city, when completed in the
Summer of 2014, it will be the largest and most modern airport in Latin America. In January 2015, the Santos administration
announced a two-stage plan to improve Bogota’s aerial access. The plans consist of a major expansion to
the current main terminal with the effect of increasing the number of gates from 37
to 56 and thus raising the capacity of the airport from 27 million passengers to 40 million. Phase 1 also involves improvements to the
runway to increase efficiency. The time scale for phase one is approximately
24 months. Phase two involves the construction of a brand
new secondary airport in the suburb of Facatativa west of Bogota. This new project is currently conceived as
El Dorado II and is aimed to be in operation by 2020. These two major developments are part of a
greater endeavor to modernize the nation’s airports. It is expected that El Dorado and El Dorado
II will be connected via a commuter/light rail project.==Accolades==
2016: The airport has been named the best airport in South America by World Airport
Awards. El Dorado received four-star certification
and its staff was rated the best in South America by Skytrax, as well as achieving the
46th place in the World’s Top 100 Airports in 2016 list.2017: The airport has been named
the best airport in South America by World Airport Awards. El Dorado received four-star certification
by Skytrax, as well as achieving the 42nd place in the World’s Top 100 Airports in 2017
list.==See also==
Transport in Colombia List of airports in Colombia
Guaymaral Airport Migración Colombia

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