Juan Santamaría International Airport was inaugurated in 1955.
An aircraft at Juan Santamaria International Airport.
Boeing aircraft parked at the terminal.

Juan Santamaría International Airport is located in San José, Costa Rica. The airport was initially operated by Alterra Partners, but in 2009, Houston-based Airport Development Corporation, Houston Airport Systems and Brazil-based Andrade Gutierrez Concessoes took over operation of the airport.

The airport was inaugurated in 1955 and replaced La Sabana International Airport. It was initially known as El Coco Airport and later named after Juan Santamaría, a national hero.

The airport acts as a hub for TACA / LACSA and other airlines operating at the airport, including Copa Airlines, Continental Airlines and American Airlines. In 2008 Juan Santamaría handled 3.2 million passengers.

Juan Santamaría expansion

The airport authority planned a capital improvement programme for 2000-13. An Edica and Bechtel joint venture is responsible for executing the capital improvement projects. The joint venture will remodel the terminal and concourses, construct a taxiway and resurface the existing runway.

“Juan Santamaría International Airport is located in San José, Costa Rica.”

The improvement programme involves four components: airfield, ancillary and two staged terminal projects. The airfield projects include the reconstruction of the existing taxiway and construction of a new runway and taxiway. Additionally, an apron will be constructed that will have nine contact gates and two remote parking stands. An ancillary project includes the construction of a 2,400m² pre-engineered hangar and a 600m² maintenance facility. The terminal project includes the renovation of an existing terminal, concourses, and temporary arrival and departure areas. In Terminal and processor facilities will also be constructed.

Phase I, which was completed in mid-2010, included the renovation of a main terminal building and a temporary immigration area. The apron area was also expanded.

Phase II works include the construction of a terminal building, three aircraft parking positions, an electrical substation and additional hold rooms. The terminal expansion is expected to be complete by November 2010.


The airport features a main passenger terminal and a cargo terminal. The passenger terminal is located between the fuel farm and the aircraft maintenance facility, and the cargo terminal lies west of the passenger terminal. The cargo terminal covers an area of 5,100m² and has a separate apron with four parking stands.

The lower level of the main terminal features a VIP lounge. The lounge is dedicated for business-class passengers of selected airlines and members of the priority pass programme. The main terminal also features a facility for diplomatic visitors. The airport’s maintenance facilities are north-west of the passenger terminal building.

Power plants provide back up power to the terminal building, airfield lighting and navigational aids. The control tower has a separate power facility, which can be used in case of emergency.

“Juan Santamaría International Airport has single runway, designated 07/25.”


The project is being funded by Andrade Gutierrez Concessões, the Airport Development Corporation and Houston Airport Systems. The team is also responsible for project development, construction and operation of the airport.

The Inter-American Development Bank approved approximately $45m for the project, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation around $55m.


Juan Santamaría International Airport has single runway, designated 07/25, and a parallel taxiway delta. The runway is 3,012m long while the taxiway is 1,850m long. The runway can accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and A340.

Ground transportation

There are numerous licensed taxis operating to and from the airport. Public transportation is also available and buses operate frequently.