Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Chiclayo’s International Airport


The Chiclayo airport, officially known as Captain FAP Jose A Quinones Gonzales International Airport truly became international this month when Copa Airlines began weekly round-trip direct flights from Panama City, Panama to Chiclayo. When Copa announced the flight earlier this year many people including me questioned the reason for this flight. Why would Chiclayanos want to go to Panama? Why would Panamanians want to come to Chiclayo? Whatever the reasons, so far all flights both ways have been full.

Except for the Copa flight the only destination you can fly to from Chiclayo is Lima. No matter your destination in or out of Peru, you have to go through Lima. Being able to fly to Panama from Chiclayo opens up many foreign destinations like Cuba for instance, at less expense, time and effort.
LAN (now Latam Airlines) operates four flights daily from Chiclayo to Lima; LC Peru has two. All flights originate in Lima and will return there the same day. Turnaround time averages 40 minutes.There are no aircraft staged overnight in Chiclayo.

That’s about 700 passengers leaving Chiclayo daily for Lima, most of them having purchased round-trip tickets. Many of them will not go further than Lima; others will be going on to destinations in and out of Peru. None of the internal destinations are reached efficiently. For example, from Chiclayo to Lima to Tarapoto takes 12 hours 47 minutes on LAN. In the past Avianca Airlines flew direct from Chiclayo to Tarapoto. The total time was 45 minutes at less than half the price. Avianca no longer services Chiclayo.

Often travelers comment and complain about the inability to fly direct from Chiclayo to other Peruvian cities, but the people who run LAN and LC Peru are not stupid. If it was economically feasible to fly to multiple destinations from Chiclayo I’m sure they would do it. But just maybe change is in the wind.

The Chiclayo airport is scheduled for major remodeling (artist's drawing of finished project).  Starting in December the runways will be expanded at a projected cost of 64 million dollars. And over the next 5 to 6 years the terminal will be enlarged and modernized to the tune of 200 to 350 million dollars. There will be 8 gates as opposed to 2 now. The portable boarding stairways will be replaced with power boarding bridges (also known as jetways). The stated reason for the renovation is to accommodate the present and projected increase in tourist and business travelers and cargo leaving and coming into Chiclayo.

It doesn’t seem likely that a project of this magnitude would be done just to allow more flights to and from Lima. Maybe in a few years we’ll be able to fly direct from Chiclayo to other South American cities and perhaps even Miami. If that happens one thing is certain…we will not miss those long overnight layovers in the Lima airport.

2 comments:

  1. You can fly from Orlando/Miami to Chiclayo via Panama, but there is like a 9 hour layover in Panama... But this is progress. Also the ticket are more affordable than To Lima. I am retiring to Pimentel and we are considering the Copa flight. Better than Lima, where we use to get in around midnight or early morning, then layover a day for a Chiclayo flight. The alternative is a 12 hour bus ride on Oltursa (Lima to CIX)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting. Every time we plan a trip I look for that elusive flight combination of minimum layover with sufficient time between plane changes. I have yet to find it. Neither Maribel or I can sleep in airports so we spend our time doing what we call the 'food court shuffle'. Whether its Panama, Bogota, Lima or wherever, sleepless nights seem inevitable.

      Delete