New Palmerola International Airport, Honduras


Palmerola

Palmerola International Airport is a new airport being constructed in Comayagua, Honduras, to replace Toncontin International Airport, which is situated in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Toncontin International Airport is one of the most dangerous airports in the world due to its short runway and proximity to mountainous terrain.

The new airport project is one of the prime initiatives taken by the Government of Honduras to increase the country's productive infrastructure and transform it into a logistic and transport centre for the Central American region.

Being developed under public private partnership (PPP) model, the project is estimated to cost $163m.

The airport will be capable of handling approximately 1.5m passengers a year. It is designed to offer an operational life of 50 years and comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

The first stage of the airport construction will take two years, while the entire project will generate 3,500 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs.

Location of Honduras' new airport

The Palmerola airport will be constructed on a site that is currently occupied by the Palmerola Air Base in the Valley of Comayagua, 70km from the capital city. The site is located in the axis road between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

Palmerola airport project background

Honduras has four international airports with an annual traffic of 1.8m passengers. One third of the country's air operations are concentrated in Toncontin airport, which presents serious risks for users. This caused the government to plan for a first-class, safe, modern and efficient international airport at Comayagua.

Facilities at the new airport

The new airport in Comayagua will feature a two-storey, 11,150m² passenger terminal with modern infrastructure, including 16 check-in desks, VIP lounges and three luggage carousels. The terminal will generate clean energy through solar panels.

The airport will also offer a 1,500m² air cargo terminal, a new control tower, hangars, auxiliary buildings, and a taxiway to connect the platform with the airfield, as well as aircraft parking spaces for general, regional and commercial aviation. Existing air base systems will be adapted to comply with ICAO norms.

Other facilities will include a fire station, multi-purpose buildings, and a modernised parking area. Street access will be provided with a road joining the CA-5 road with Yarumela, along with new fencing and a perimeter road.

Runways

"The first stage of the airport construction will take two years, while the entire project will generate 3,500 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs."

The new airport will feature a 2,440m-long runway, which will handle commercial aircraft, narrow-body unrestricted and wide-body aircraft with low restrictions on long-haul destinations. Unlike Toncontin airport's runway, the new runway is expandable in future.

The runway will also be equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS), which improves safety and regularity in low visibility conditions.

Contractors involved

The contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Palmerola airport for a 30-year concession period was awarded to EMCO Corporation, the operator of Munich International Airport.

Financing for the new airport in Honduras

The estimated investment for the project is $163m, of which $53m will be funded by the Government of Spain through a debt restructuring programme with Honduras, $87m will be provided by private investors, and $23m by the Honduras Government.