Nuevo Pudahuel



Construction work on the new international terminal is 10% complete and will be finished by 2020, when parking and passenger capacity will double.

During 2016 the flow figures of Arturo Merino Benítez airport indicated that 19,192,488 users travelled inside and outside Chile, a figure that is increasing this year and is expected to exceed the barrier of 20 million passengers. This increase is directly linked to the expansion of aeronautics in Chile with the arrival of new airlines to the country. In May of last year Alitalia returned to operate the Santiago-Rome route and in January of this year British Airways opened Santiago-London flights. New direct destinations will expand in the coming months with the addition of Latin American Wings (LAW), Qatar Plus Ultra and JetSmart.


Some of these lines operate with the low cost model, a relevant factor in the increase of people using air transport. The airport's concession, Nuevo Pudahuel, is prepared for the developments in  air travel. In November 2016, construction work began on the airport expansion, which will be fully operational by 2020.


This Thursday, the concession, together with the Minister of Finance, Rodrigo Valdés, and the Coordinator of Concessions of the Ministry of Public Works, Eduardo Abedrapo, visited the construction site where the work is 10% complete. "The current rate of progress corresponds to where the construction should be in November of this year, according to the concession contract," explained Abedrapo.


When the work on the future international terminal is completed, it will have a capacity of 30 million passengers per year and will cover international flights, meaning that the current terminal will be used for domestic flights. The work has a cost of over US$ 900,000,000. "The potential for aeronautical growth in Chile is great. The average annual growth of airports is double the country's GDP and today we are growing at over 11%, which speaks to that potential," said Branko Karlezi, assistant communications manager of Nuevo Pudahuel.


International terminal


The new infrastructure will have an area of 175,000 square meters, which will consist of a central core, where users will be able to realise all airport procedures and four piers, which are the extensions of the central building where the departure lounges are located and where the aircraft are parked.


Currently, there are 18 boarding bridges which will increase to 67 by 2020, which will allow capacity to increase from 2,400 passengers per hour to more than 5,000. Work is also being carried out on the runways, including maintenance and expansion. "The current runways are sufficient, and there is capacity for a long time to come," Karlezi added.


Departure lounges and parking lots


The waiting times before each flight will be reduced thanks to the installation of new passport control counters, from the current 36 to 56 and in international arrivals from 34 to 64. In turn, the security screening time for each passenger and their hand luggage will also be shorter than the current duration, thanks to 32 new screening systems, almost tripling the work capacity. In addition, there will be a 30% increase in the number of check-in modules, from 133 to 176 in 2020, and the number of boarding gates will increase from 31 to 76.


The current parking capacity, for 3,730 vehicles, will grow by more than 40% to 5,800, with the construction of two three-storey buildings and two surface parking lots. The parking lots will be further away from the central building, so Nuevo Pudahuel will implement free shuttle buses with a frequency of every ten minutes.


Increased technology and business improvements


Both the national and international terminals will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology in all locations. New state-of-the-art scanning equipment and a system of radio-frequency baggage identification tags for arrivals will be available, which will automate SAG and Customs controls. In addition there will be a new digital CCTV system and a fibre optic network interconnection system that will increase bandwidth capacity.


The new proposal also includes increasing the commercial offer at Arturo Merino Benítez Airport, with a larger sales area and improvements to the VIP lounges. Among the changes are: more international and national brands, new categories of stores and expansion of the food options, among others.


Read more at: