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Costa Rica

Universal Aviation part of consortium chosen to build and manage Costa Rica’s first General Aviation Terminal



Aeris Holdings has selected GAT SJO, a consortium composed of Universal Aviation Costa Rica and local partners, to manage a new general aviation terminal (GAT) at Costa Rica at Juan Santamaría International Airport (MROC/SJO).

The new GAT facility will be exclusively available to international private operations and is the first facility of its kind in Costa Rica. It will operate under the name GAT SJO General Aviation Terminal.

Aeris, which has an agreement with the Costa Rican Government to invest and operate MROC until 2026, selected GAT SJO to remodel and manage the GAT following a public request for proposal. Universal Aviation Costa Rica is a member of Universal Aviation, the worldwide ground handling division of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

The future GAT is part of the new domestic terminal at MROC, an infrastructure project which includes 15,260 square-feet and has a capacity to accommodate up to 600 passengers in peak time. That project was delivered in May 2018 and required an investment of $12.5m.


Remodeling of the GAT area of the terminal is scheduled to begin this July and is expected to be completed by September 2019. All private aviation ground handlers, as well as home-based operators (independent owners traveling international) at MROC, will be allowed to operate through the GAT.

“We are thrilled that the Costa Rican government, airport authorities and Aeris recognized the need for a dedicated GAT to improve the privacy, experience, safety, and security of private operators at MROC/SJO,” said Adolfo Aragon, Senior Vice President, Latin America & Caribbean, Universal. “The new GAT will drastically reduce private operators time on the ground. It will also result in a vastly different experience compared to the current inbound/outbound process where they are mixed with commercial passengers in shared lines to clear CIQ.”

With the new process, upon deplaning, private passengers will be shuttled by their handling agents a short ride from the parking area to the GAT, which will have a dedicated area for CIQ.

“Private operators will no longer have to clear formalities inside the airline terminal in potentially long lines, and passengers will no longer be separated from their baggage, which was previously mixed into commercial baggage carousels, adding more complexity to the operation and stress to the passengers,” said Aragon.

“Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría has been recognized for the increase in passengers year-over-year, and the improvement of our facilities; adding the first exclusive terminal for private aviation operators, is an important milestone and the culmination of a comprehensive project, which we started many years ago from AERIS. This project, significantly improves the accessibility and attractiveness of the country, which translates into more opportunities for investment and development,” said Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS Costa Rica.

In 2018, Juan Santamaría Airport received more than 800 private operations and projects around 1,000 for the 2019. Aeris, as the manager of the airport (Gestor Interesado), has been working for more than six years on an investment plan that exceeds $143 million and includes several projects to improve operations.

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BlueSky Business Aviation News | 18th April 2019 | Issue #507



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