Punta Cana International Airport
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Punta Cana International Airport
Punta Cana International Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional Punta Cana
Punta Cana International Airport logo.png
Punta Cana (PUJ - MDPC) AN1562239.jpg
Airport typePublic-private
Owner/OperatorPunta Cana Resort and Club/Grupo Punta Cana
ServesPunta Cana, Higüey, Bávaro
LocationPunta Cana in La Altagracia Province, Dominican Republic
OpenedDecember 17, 1983
Elevation AMSL40 ft / 12.2 m
Coordinates18°34?00?N 68°21?07?W / 18.56667°N 68.35194°W / 18.56667; -68.35194Coordinates: 18°34?00?N 68°21?07?W / 18.56667°N 68.35194°W / 18.56667; -68.35194
MDPC is located in the Dominican Republic
Location of airport in Dominican Republic
Direction Length Surface
ft m
08/26 10,171 3,100 Asphalt, concrete
09/27 10,171 3,100 Asphalt, concrete
Statistics (2019)
Total Passengers7,106,258
Aircraft Operations47,226
Source: Banco Central República Dominicana
1 Runway 08/26 All traffic.
2 Runway 09/27 Light traffic only.

Punta Cana International Airport (IATA: PUJ, ICAO: MDPC) is a privately owned commercial airport in Punta Cana, eastern Dominican Republic. The airport is built with open-air terminals with their roofs covered in palm fronds. Grupo PuntaCana[1] built the airport, which was designed by architect Oscar Imbert, and inaugurated it in December 1983. It became the first privately owned international airport in the world.[2]

A number of scheduled and charter airlines fly to Punta Cana; more than 6.3 million passengers (arrivals and departures combined) pass through the terminals, moved by almost 60,000 commercial aircraft operations.[3] The operators of the airport, Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este, S.A. (a private corporation run by Puntacana Resort and Club),[2] expanded the facility in November 2011 with a new runway and air traffic control tower designed to support the robust growth of travel to the region. In 2014, the airport accounted for 60% of all air arrivals in the Dominican Republic.[4]


Aerial view
Apron view
Check-in area

Former airstrip

The history of aviation in the Punta Cana region started in 1971, when Grupo PuntaCana built its first hotel and a small airstrip where aircraft could land. There were no terminals and no runway; it was just a flat piece of land. The only problem was that the area was very secluded from the rest of the Dominican Republic. Also, many more people were starting to go to Punta Cana for vacation, with more and more small cabins being built. Since there were no roads nor harbors, the only way to get into Punta Cana was by air.

In the late 1970s a road was built, to connect the area with the capital of that province, Higüey. Tourists from various countries started to come in. They had to pass through Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, then take a short flight in a single-engine plane to Punta Cana. The airstrip itself had significant problems, such as having a very short runway and still no terminal. This meant passengers would exit their plane and be directed onto a road to be picked up to ride to their hotel, which was inconvenient. Grupo PuntaCana knew it needed a real airport.

Planning and construction

In late 1974, Grupo PuntaCana started to plan the first private international airport. However, the local government disapproved of the new airport. After eight full years of arguing with the province, a contract was made to begin construction on the new airport. The airport would be built where the old airstrip stood. In early 1981 planning started on the airport. Oscar Imbert (son of General Antonio Imbert) was chosen as architect. He wanted the terminal architecture to be based on Native American Tainos and Arawak structures. At the same time, he wanted to give the passengers a paradise feeling. The problem was that the planners did not want to pay for expensive air conditioning. The solution to this problem was to build the terminal in such a way that the coastal breezes from the Caribbean Sea would come in and cool down the passengers. The terminal building was planned to have fronds of cane palms of the roof, and for the walls, stone from the nearby jungles. For the columns, they would use eucalyptus logs.

Construction on the new airport started in early 1982, and the small airstrip had to close down. To substitute for the loss, a small concrete airstrip was made into a temporary airport. This strip would turn into a runway when the airport opened. Since the terminal was small and there was not a lot of construction needed, the terminal was completed in under four months. The runway and tarmac took a long time since there were not many construction workers building the airport. The area was secluded, which dissuaded many construction workers from trying to build the airport. However, after eight years of persuading the government, and two more years of construction, the airport began operations on December 17, 1983.


The airport started out with a 5,000 feet (1,500 m) runway, which could fit larger propeller planes. The building was 300 square metres (3,200 sq ft) in area, and could assist 150 passengers every hour and a half. The small control tower began to be used.

In January 1984, Punta Cana had its first international flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico operated by the Puerto Rican airline, Prinair. The aircraft was a small double turbo propeller aircraft with 20 passengers. In 1984, the airport received 2,976 passengers.

With a proper airport, many new hotels were built. However, now that there were more hotels, more people wanted to fly to Punta Cana. There was an increased demand to bring jet aircraft to Punta Cana. This led to the airport's first expansion in 1987. The runway was expanded to 7,500 feet (2,300 m), along with a small expansion of the terminal. The tarmac was expanded to accommodate jet aircraft. The terminal was renovated and more check-in stands were built. This expansion allowed many more aircraft to land at the airport. The small control tower was also renovated, with new radar systems added. However, large jet aircraft did not fly to Punta Cana until the early 1990s. During this time, new airlines from around the Caribbean started to fly here. The second expansion was added in 1988, in which a new taxiway was added so it could be easier to get off the runway and onto the tarmac. 1989 was also when the first private jets started to fly to the airport. There were only about four airlines in 1988. All of these small airlines were regional, coming from different parts of the Caribbean. Towards the end of 1989, another expansion started to expand the runway to 10,171 feet (3,100 m). This expansion was completed in late 1990.


The 1990s brought a major change to the airport. Now that the runway was 10,171 feet (3,100 m), long-haul jets could fly there. Some of the first airlines to fly charters to Punta Cana during this time were Monarch Airlines and Air Belgium in 1990 and 1991, respectively. Condor was expanding rapidly, following the addition of their new Boeing 767s and one of its new destinations from Frankfurt was Punta Cana.

These became the first routes from Europe and the first long-haul routes in the airport's history. Around the same time, LTU International started a route from Berlin. Many airlines around the Caribbean stopped operations to the airport, as a result of the new long-haul flights. In 1993, the airline Hapag-Lloyd Flug began a route from Düsseldorf. Air Transat began a route from Montréal, which became the first route from Canada. In 1994, American Airlines started operations to Miami International Airport. The same year, Lauda Air began operations from Vienna. The Dutch wanted a route to Punta Cana, so in January 1995, Martinair began operations from Amsterdam Schiphol. ATA Airlines started to fly to Midway International Airport in early 1996. In October 1996, the Chilean airline Lan Chile began to fly 767s from Bogota and Santiago.

Over time, more airlines from Europe, Canada, and the US began operations to Punta Cana. The late 1990s saw many new European charter carriers such as Britannia Airways, Air Europe, and Iberworld. There was increasing demand for an expansion, as the tarmac was not big enough to fit all of the new jet aircraft. This was becoming a major problem, as new airlines could not introduce new routes unless the airport expanded.

Towards the end of 1998, the tarmac was extremely busy and dangerous, due to aircraft having to taxi down the runway and turn before departure. The need to backtaxi created dangerous conditions with the volume of traffic, and sometimes resulted in considerable delays as other aircraft waited to enter the runway. The rapid growth of the airport's route network was too excessive for the small airport. As the number of passengers grew, Grupo PuntaCana began to plan a massive expansion, which began in 1999.


In 2000, after the completion of the expansion, the terminal was renovated and expanded to twice its original size to 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft). A long taxiway was added to prevent a collision on the runway, and the tarmac was expanded to fit six aircraft. This expansion was completed in 2001, and airline growth continued.

During this time, Punta Cana was changing, with the addition of new hotels, malls, and infrastructure. Many people were flying to Punta Cana annually, and once again the airport was crowded by 2002. A new parking lot was built along with the new PuntaCana Village. By 2003, there was a small expansion of the terminal and the tarmac was expanded to allow seven aircraft to park. This was also the year the Grupo Puntacana had begun the planning of a second runway. In 2004, there was another expansion on the tarmac to allow many more aircraft to fly there. As many old charter carriers from the 1990s began to cease operations to the airport, each new year brought new airlines and destinations. Several prominent leisure carriers such as Transaero, Pullmantur Air, and Corsairfly started operations with large aircraft such as the Boeing 747. That same year, the construction of a second runway was approved, and planning on the runway started.



Punta Cana International Airport apron

The airport has five terminals: International Terminals A and B for international passenger travel; FBO Terminal, located west of terminal B, for executive general aviation, both national and international; National Terminal, located east of the FBO terminal, for national charter and general aviation; and VIP Terminal, located east of Terminal A, a private terminal including an aircraft parking apron. Punta Cana International Airport serves 96 cities in 28 countries.[5] Terminal B was built with seven airbridges, three being for wide-body aircraft. This new terminal was completed in 2014 and can comfortably accommodate 6,500 travelers daily and over 2 million travelers annually.[6]

Expansion projects


Punta Cana's airport operators completed an airport expansion project in November 2011, which included a new runway and a control tower equipped with modern radio and air traffic control equipment. There is also a new Terminal Approach Radar Control facility and a new Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS). This new facility provides a back-up to the National Radar System located in Santo Domingo. A second international terminal which opened in 2014 is designed to accommodate about 6,500 passengers daily. The operators plan to open a third terminal and renovate runway 09/27 while also constructing a cargo terminal.[4]

U.S. preclearance

Plans were underway for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance station to be opened at the airport by the end of summer 2009;[7] however, this has not yet begun. According to Frank Rainieri, president of Grupo Puntacana, negotiations have re-opened (as of June 2015) and he anticipates that this airport will be the first in Latin America to offer such preclearance service.[8]

Airlines and destinations

Countries served from PUJ 2020
Aerolíneas Argentinas Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, 1Córdoba
Air Canada Seasonal: Halifax
Air Canada Rouge Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Ottawa, Québec City
Air Caraibes Paris-Orly
Air Europa Madrid
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 3
Air Transat Montréal-Trudeau, Québec City, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Hamilton (ON), London (ON), Ottawa
American Airlines Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York-JFK
Avianca Bogotá
Avior Airlines Barcelona (VE), Caracas
British Airways London-Gatwick
Condor Frankfurt
Conviasa Caracas
Copa Airlines Panama City-Tocumen
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, New York-JFK
Seasonal: Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Edelweiss Air Zürich
Eurowings Düsseldorf, Frankfurt (begins March 29, 2021),[9]Munich
Evelop Airlines Madrid
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Frontier Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia
Seasonal: St. Louis
São Paulo-Guarulhos 4
InterCaribbean Airways Tortola[10]
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK, Newark (begins November 19, 2020),[11]San Juan
LATAM Chile Miami 5, Santiago de Chile
LATAM Perú Lima
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal charter: Warsaw-Chopin
Lufthansa Frankfurt (begins March 29, 2021)[9]
Nordwind Airlines Moscow-Sheremetyevo
Orbest Seasonal: Lisbon
Rutaca Airlines Caracas
Sky Airline Peru Lima [12]
Southwest Airlines Baltimore
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale [13]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sunclass Airlines Seasonal: Copenhagen,[14]Stockholm-Arlanda[15]
Sunwing Airlines Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson
TUI Airways London-Gatwick, Manchester
Seasonal: Birmingham, Copenhagen, Stockholm-Arlanda
TUI fly Belgium Brussels 6
TUI fly Netherlands Amsterdam 7
Turpial Airlines Valencia (VE)
United Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark
Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles
Wamos Air Madrid
WestJet Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary
Wingo Bogota
  • ^1 Due to the Boeing 737 Max grounding, Aerolineas Argentinas changed equipment to a Boeing 737-800 which doesn't possess enough range to fly nonstop from Punta Cana to Buenos Aires and Cordoba, therefore, both legs stop in Salta, Argentina to refuel. Starting September,[when?] nonstop service will resume on an A330-200.
  • ^3 Air France's flights from Punta Cana to Paris-CDG fly via Santo Domingo two times weekly; however the flights from Paris-CDG to Punta Cana are nonstop. In winter, all of Air France's flights are nonstop.
  • ^4 Due to the Boeing 737 Max grounding, the flights of Gol Transportes Aéreos from Brasília and Fortaleza, to Orlando and Miami, operated by the Boeing 737-800, makes a little stop on Punta Cana to refuel. However, the airline don't keeps a local traffic between Punta Cana and Orlando/Miami.
  • ^5 LATAM Chile's flight to Miami is a fifth freedom flight originating in Santiago Chile and terminating in Miami via Punta Cana and vice versa.
  • ^6 TUI fly Belgium's flights from Brussels flies one time weekly via Santo Domingo; however all the flights from Punta Cana to Brussels are nonstop.
  • ^7 TUI fly Netherland's flights incoming from Amsterdam fly via Montego Bay, however, the return flights from Punta Cana to Amsterdam are nonstop.


Busiest international routes from PUJ (2019)[16]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Canada Toronto-Pearson 638,141 Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines, WestJet
2 Panama Panama City 426,067 Copa Airlines
3 Canada Montréal-Trudeau 414,863 Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines
4 United States New York-John F. Kennedy 403,375 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue
5 France Paris (Charles de Gaulle, Orly) 351,710 Air Caraibes, Air France
6 United States Atlanta 344,427 Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines
7 United States Miami 309,195 American Airlines, LATAM Chile
8 Peru Lima 279,169 LATAM Perú, Sky Airline Peru
9 United States Chicago (Midway, O'Hare) 253,756 American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines
10 Spain Madrid 250,448 Air Europa, Evelop Airlines, Wamos Air
11 United States Newark 229,282 United Airlines
12 United States Charlotte 228,282 American Airlines
13 Colombia Bogotá 215,096 Avianca, Wingo
14 United States Fort Lauderdale 203,274 JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines
15 United States Philadelphia 193,434 American Airlines, Frontier Airlines
16 United Kingdom London-Gatwick 176,702 British Airways, TUI Airways
17 Puerto Rico San Juan 147,860 JetBlue Airways
18 Russia Moscow-Sheremetyevo 120,665 Nordwind Airlines
19 Germany Frankfurt 112,869 Condor
20 United States Washington-Dulles 103,621 United Airlines
21 United States Baltimore 101,850 Southwest Airlines
22 Germany Dusseldorf 101,470 Eurowings
23 United Kingdom Manchester 98,072 TUI Airways
24 United States Minneapolis-Saint Paul 96,802 Delta Airlines, Sun Country Airlines
25 United States Boston 86,149 American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue
26 Switzerland Zurich 84,149 Edelweiss Air
27 Canada Québec City 70,046 Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines
28 Argentina Buenos Aires-Ezeiza 66,921 Aerolineas Argentinas
29 Belgium Brussels 64,263 TUI fly Belgium
30 Canada Ottawa 51,118 Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines
31 United States Houston (Hobby, Intercontinental) 49,417 Southwest Airlines, United Airlines
32 Brazil São Paulo 48,544 Gol Transportes Aereos
33 Germany Munich 46,161 Condor, Eurowings
34 Portugal Lisbon 42,152 Orbest
35 United States Dallas-Fort Worth 37,480 American Airlines, Sun Country Airlines
36 United Kingdom Birmingham 37,449 TUI Airways
37 Poland Warsaw-Chopin 34,337 LOT Polish Airlines, TUI fly Netherlands
38 United States Cleveland 33,009 Frontier Airlines
39 Chile Santiago de Chile 29,682 LATAM Chile
40 Canada Halifax 29,430 Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines

Accidents and incidents

On May 22, 2005, a Skyservice 767-300 suffered from a fracture in the upper fuselage and damaged landing gear after experiencing a hard landing and bouncing multiple times following a flight from Toronto. There were few injuries but no fatalities among the 318 occupants of the aircraft and it was repaired and returned to service.[17]

On October 13, 2014, the engine of a Jetstream Bae 32 aircraft belonging to Air Century Airlines caught fire while landing after a charter flight from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airplane crew declared an emergency and landed the aircraft at 20:45 local time, after a 49-minute flight, but the plane was destroyed in a subsequent fire. There were no injuries among the 13 passengers and two crew members.[18]

On February 10, 2016, Orenair flight 554 to Moscow Domodedovo Airport reported an engine fire and smoke in the cabin. The crew decided to turn around and land the aircraft, without dumping fuel, rather circling around the airport. Upon landing the overweight aircraft, the landing gear overheated and caught fire, and the aircraft was evacuated. There were no injuries among the 371 occupants of the Boeing 777 and it remained grounded at the airport for 10 months, leaving in December 2016.[19]

See also


  1. ^ "Grupo PuntaCana". GrupoPuntaCana.com.do. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b http://www.puntacanainternationalairport.com/assets/punta-cana-tech-data-fact-sheet_2015.pdf
  3. ^ "- Airport Information". Puntacanainternationalairport.com. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ a b Major, Brian (22 January 2015). "North Americans Drove Dominican Republic's Record 2014 Tourism Growth". TravelPulse.
  5. ^ Airport, Punta Cana International. "The Official Website of Punta Cana International AirportDominican Republic flights to Punta Cana International Airport". www.PuntaCanaInternationalAirport.com. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "PUJ is ready to inaugurate modern, convenient air travel with Terminal B". Puntacana Blogs. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Busiest Dominican airport to have U.S. Customs, Immigration station, Nuevo Diario reports Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine from the Dominican Times retrieved 25 July 2008
  8. ^ "Bavaro News; Year X; edition 287; page 4". Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Summer 2021: Six new long-haul tourist destinations from Frankfurt". Lufthansa Group.
  10. ^ Liu, Jim. "interCaribbean adds Beef Island - Punta Cana service from Jan 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "JetBlue Adds Two Dozen New Routes in Markets with Strengthened Demand Potential". JetBlue. September 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ name=SKYLIM>"Sky Airline delays new routes launch to Sep/Oct 2020". Routes Online. April 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "Spirit Airlines gradually restarts its flights to Latin America". Nicolás Larenas (in Spanish). June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Flight". spies.dk.
  15. ^ "Flight". ving.se.
  16. ^ http://www.jac.gob.do/transparencia/index.php/estadisticas/category/521-4to-trimestre
  17. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 767-31KER C-GLMC Punta Cana Airport". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Se incendia avión que despegó desde San Juan". El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "Incident: Orenair B772 at Punta Cana on Feb 10th 2016, engine shut down in flight, burst tyre and smoke on landing". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 2019.

External links

Media related to Punta Cana International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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