Lima Airport to Begin Expansion After Years of Delays

Inside Lima's airport terminal (Photo: VasenkaPhotography - https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasenka/8722356428/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26698429)

After years-long delays and complications, Lima airport, the biggest in Peru and an important regional hub in South America is finally finishing the last touches to begin its much-needed expansion.

The new plan, which has been no short of disputes between the airport operator Lima Airport Partners  (LAP), the ministry of transport and local authorities; involves the construction of a second runway and a new passenger terminal that once completed, will size nine million square miles and be able to host 30 million passengers. This barely represents a 25 percent increase in capacity over the number of passengers passing through the airport in 2017, which is clearly way above what it is prepared to handle .

Delays in expansion were mainly related to the ministry of transport failing to meet deadlines in the expropriation of required land as well as adequately satiating land to be used for the construction of the airport’s second runway along with a new terminal and tower,

Nevertheless, things are finally going forward. Earlier this week the Peruvian government officially handed over the land in question to LAP in a ceremony officiated at Lima’s airport terminal by the Peruvian president, Martin Vizcarra, Lima Airport Partner’s CEO Juan Jose Salmon, along with other government executives. Vizcarra celebrated this historical event saying that “it has taken 17 years for the government to hand over this land to the airport operator and four presidents have been in charge throughout this time”.

In his speech, the president made emphasis on the state’s accountability in the delays in handling their responsibility,  stating that the number of yearly passengers passing through the airport has almost quintupled in the meantime, from where they were first required to hand over land in 2002.

On the other hand, LAPs CEO Juan Jose Salmon said “We are ready to take this project forward and face any challenges”. On a more positive not than in previous occasions, he reiterated his trust in the government alleging that “they will help us overcome any challenges that come on the way”.

Last month, LAP announced the consortium which will be in charge of the planning and execution of the new runway and terminal construction, made up by Italian constructor Salini Impregilo along with Spanish firm FCC and AECOM. The project constitutes an investment of over $1.5 billion.

At the same time, the airport operator, which is partially owned by global airports operator Fraport has already submitted and gained approval of the modifications in the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) under the national service for environmental certification for sustainable investments (SENACE).

Looking to remedy observations made by authorities, LAP agreed to implement a sound monitoring system to keep track of aircraft noise on nearby local communities, while at the same time develop a plan involving compensation for environmental damage to the community of Humedal in the nearby district of Ventanilla.

Julissa Salavarria, LAP’s airport systems manager, commended the airport’s commitment towards the area’s sustainability mentioning, “the airport has included a variety of social and environmental programs that would benefit nearby communities. We are not only committed with our growth, but also with our neighbours in Callao,” the constituency in which the airport is located.

With processes moving on, Lima is finally set to have an airport that does justice to the traffic it moves and that will enable the infrastructure needed for Peru’s fast-paced growth in air travel.

Jose Antonio Payet

Jose Antonio Payet

As a geography nerd, Jose has always been fascinated by the complexities of the airline industry and its ability to bring the world closer together. Born and raised in Peru, now studying in the UK. he has travelled around America, Europe and South East Asia. His favorite aircraft is the Boeing 767-300, which he has flown many times during his childhood; although now the A350 is slowly growing up on him.
Jose Antonio Payet