Olaya Herrera Airport
Aeropuerto Olaya Herrera
|Elevation AMSL||4,940 ft / 1,506 m|
Source: Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste
Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Olaya Herrera) (IATA: EOH, ICAO: SKMD) is an airport located in Medellín, Colombia, that serves regional and domestic flights. Additionally, the airport is used by general aviation and features several hangars for charters. Olaya Herrera is the second busiest airport in Colombia by number of flights.
Today, it is considered the main regional airport of the country due to the large number of scheduled and charter flights operated to and from the airport. It was formerly known as Medellin International Airport prior to the construction of José María Córdova International Airport in the nearby municipality of Rionegro, 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of Medellin. Between the two airports, there were more than 7.7 million passengers per year, which makes it the second busiest passenger city in Colombia after Bogotá.
In 2016, the airport handled 831,181 passengers, and 848,525 in 2017.
Don Gonzalo Mejía (es) saw an opportunity for the development of an airport in Medellin given that the mountainous topography surrounding the city made land transport to and from the area difficult, and that the nearest airport was in Puerto Berrio.
He secured financing from wealthy businessmen of the time, chose the land where the airport sits today and overcame obstacles imposed by the local government. He formed the Uraba Medellin Central Airways and established it as a subsidiary of Pan American Airways, which at the time had the prospect of becoming the dominant player in global aviation. The airport opened on July 5, 1932, and was named after the then president of Colombia, Enrique Olaya Herrera, who supported Mejía and his idea of an airport in Medellin.
In the 1940s the city was growing rapidly and new aircraft of the time required better facilities. Therefore, Gonzalo Mejía signed a contract in 1945 for the expansion of the runway and the existing facilities, a work that was completed on May 1, 1947.
In the 1970s, the airport was again over capacity and unable to meet demand, so the construction of new and larger José María Córdova International Airport in the nearby locality of Rionegro was announced. This resulted in the closure of Olaya Herrera Airport and the reallocation of its land to a park. Passengers, however, asked the airport not be closed, and on April 11, 1986, the airport reopened. In that same year, the airport saw some improvements as a result of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the city. It also inspired the name for the park which remained on the western portion of the airport grounds: the Aeroparque Juan Pablo II. In 1992 Aerocivil ruled that the airport was to be used strictly for regional flights.
It was also one of the mainstays of carrier ACES from its beginnings to its demise in August 2003.
Today it is an airport with heavy use and constant growth (second in number of operations in Colombia) and was declared a national monument on October 19, 1995, for its historical, cultural, and architectural value for the city of Medellin and Colombia. In 2008, the national government gave the airport and five others in Colombia under concession to operating company Airplan, which is conducting a series of renovations to the terminal (at the time of writing they are ongoing).
Medellin sits in a mountain basin, and there is high and mountainous terrain in all quadrants. The runway paved length of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) includes displaced thresholds of 395 metres (1,296 ft) on Runway 02 and 305 metres (1,001 ft) on Runway 20.
The Marinilla VOR-DME (Ident: MRN) is located 16.1 nautical miles (30 km) east of Olaya Herrera Airport. The Rionegro VOR-DME (Ident: RNG) is located 17.7 nautical miles (33 km) southeast of the airport.
Currently there are restrictions on the types of aircraft operating from the airport due to its classification as regional airport. Commercial flights can operate aircraft of up to 50 passengers, with the exception of Satena, which operates Embraer 170 aircraft carrying up to 76 passengers.
The passenger terminal has two waiting rooms off the main aircraft apron (which has a capacity of over 30 aircraft). It also has a shopping area with banking establishments, offices and shops, a food court, 11 double counters, airline check-in, a smoking room, and close connection with the Plaza Gardel.
The airport has 111 hangars located south of the terminal, where the executive offices of several commercial, charter, and cargo airlines, as well as flight schools can also be found. Aires Airlines built a hangar on the north end of the airport in order to service aircraft and reaffirm their commitment to Medellin and the new base of operations at the airport. Flight schools Aviation Antioqueña Academy and the Falcons School of Aviation, operate from the hangar area as well.
Along with five other airports, Olaya Herrera Airport was given in concession to private operator Airplan to manage. The proposed works include a total refurbishment of the terminal, the construction of a cargo terminal, repairing the track platform, implementing new security systems, the expansion and refurbishment of waiting rooms and baggage claim belts, construction of a new control tower on the west side, construction of a business aviation terminal that will serve domestic and international flights of this type (with the intention of encouraging the return of international flights to the airport), new shopping areas, among others.
Aerolínea de Antioquia has its headquarters on the airport property and has six hangars to store and perform maintenance on their planes.West Caribbean Airways, when it existed, had its corporate headquarters, operational center, and call center in Hangar 73 on the airport grounds.
With an investment of more than US$27 million, Airplan began the transformation under the parameters defined in its concession contract with the Aeronáutuica Public Establecimeinto Olaya Herrera. The modernization plan began in March 2009 and ends in 2014.
The main works to be advanced at the airport are:
Among the main objectives are to ensure aviation safety, passenger comfort, and meeting the requirements of ICAO, Aerocivil, and IATA. Olaya Herrera Airport operational spaces have Category B, according to IATA.
|Aexpa||Bahía Solano, Condoto, Nuquí, Quibdó|
|EasyFly||Apartadó, Armenia, Bucaramanga, Corozal, Cúcuta, Manizales, Montería, Pereira, Quibdó|
|Satena||Apartadó, Bahía Solano, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Quibdó, Tolú|
Seasonal: Condoto, Quibdó
A list of services before the inauguration of José María Córdova International Airport in 1985.
|Aerocondor Colombia||Bogotá, Cartagena, Pereira, San Andres Island, Cali|
|Avianca||Barrancabermeja, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Caracas, Cartagena, Manizales, Miami, Montería, New York-JFK, Panama City, Pereira, San Andrés Island, Santa Marta|
|Copa Airlines||Panama City|
|Intercontinental de Aviación||Bogotá|
|Pan American World Airways||Honda, Panama City, Turbo|
|SAM Colombia||Barrancabermeja, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena|
|SCADTA||Ayapel, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cartago, Honda, Palanquero, Puerto Berrío|