Works to expand and improve Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR), in Liberia, Guanacaste will begin next month, Casa Presidencial confirmed in a statement.
Airport administrator Corporación Interamericana de Inversiones (CORIPORT) will invest $10.3 million to expand the terminal and increase its current capacity by about 20 percent.
The project, originally planned to start this year, is now scheduled for completion by next November. It consists of building new boarding gates, VIP lounges, shops and offices over an area of 2,633 square meters (some 28,340 square feet). It also involves the renovation of 1,485 square meters (16,000 square ft) of current waiting and baggage claim areas.
The company will install a new X-ray system, new video and audio systems for passenger information, and an improved wireless network for Internet access.
CORIPORT General Manager César Jaramillo said in a news release that the company hopes all these improvements will allow it to continue offering first-class service for travelers. The expansion will also allow the terminal to receive new flights from at least five more airlines in the short term, he said.
Jaramillo said that new Liberia-Denver and Liberia-Mexico City flights are already scheduled to begin operating next year.
Daniel Oduber Airport is a key terminal for the tourism industry in Costa Rica, thanks to its proximity to some of the country’s main tourist attractions such as beaches, volcanoes and national parks.
It’s located 12 km (7.5 miles) west of Liberia, approximately 40 Km (35 miles) east of the Papagayo Peninsula, and 79 km northeast of the Tamarindo, Conchal and Flamingo area. The airport is approximately 220 Km, or 137 miles, from the capital, San José.
CORIPORT expects to end 2016 with a 35 percent increase in the number of travelers compared to last year. The terminal in 2015 received 426,336 visitors, the company reported.
According to a survey conducted by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) in 2015, 98.5 percent of travelers who entered the country through Liberia came for tourism, pleasure or recreation. Four percent of them have already been in the country and wanted to return. More than half of them travel as a couple, ICT reported.