More than 3000 people arrive every day in the high season (From December to April) into Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, looking for a pura vida style vacation in the Guanacaste beaches and resorts.
The airport authorities, however, are working hard in keeping up with such a large amount of simultaneous passengers.
Hernan Juarez, a civil aviation official at the airport, said the runway operates nonstop during this time period at the beginning of the year, especially during weekends, because many airlines have arrivals at the same time, causing sometimes long lines and flooding customs and immigration services.
“We are working with about 3000 passengers daily. It gets very crowded both in the lobby and at the boarding gate. We have tried to relieve overcrowding during peak hours, with this terminal. Almost all the airlines try to arrive between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. so then there is a build-up of operations during that period, leaving other hours free. We have tried to manage this type of slots so they can be covered and thus relieve overcrowding during peak hours” said Juarez.
With so many tourists coming to Guanacaste, the Technical Council of Civil Aviation (CETAC- Consejo Técnico de Aviación Civil) has made improvements to the Liberia airport since mid-2015. And more to come for 2016.
The tarmac surface was improved, they finished painting horizontal lines on the landing strip and invested in the parking area of the bridge of landing strip 3.
Also, the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE- Refinadora Costarricense de Petroleo) started building a tank to store 5,000 barrels of A-1 jet fuel on land next to the air terminal to provide more convenient services to aviation in general.
The work continues in 2016. According to Juarez, they have to continue with resurfacing the remaining part of the runway, measuring 2750 meters (3000 yards), and they will do work on 2100 meters (2300 yards) of runway.
Additionally, they are planning to widen the runway to 300 meters (984 feet). Currently the airport runway has parking for 9 aircraft, of which 4 have landing bridges, according to Civil Aviation data.
As well as there are new immigration police positions to be opened by the government in 2016 to thereby handle the staff shortage bringing down to a minimum the congestion created by thousands of passengers at times.