QCOSTARICA – The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Quirós) LIR, also known as Liberia International Airport, has a new name, the Guanacaste Airport.
The change was made official last week in conjunction celebration of the Annexation of the Nicoya Party. The idea is supposed to promote the province more touristically and not confuse the destination with the Republic of Liberia, a country on the West African coast.
Despite the change in name, the airport will maintain its official aeronautical abbreviations (IATA: LIR, ICAO: MRLB), the Civil Aviation Administration said.
The LIR is one of four international airports in Costa Rica, and the second-busiest after the Juan Santamaria (SJO), or San Jose airport, serving especially as a tourism hub for those who visit the Pacific coast and western Costa Rica, and a key link in the national strategy to develop eco-tourism.
The airport, which receives one-fifth of Costa Rica’s tourist flows, has seen its traffic triple in ten years, with an 8.8% increase in 2019 alone.
In an opinion piece published in ElMundo.cr, Franco Mainieri, a commercial pilot, writes that if the Government really wanted to celebrate and do something truly important for the province’s aviation, wouldn’t it have been better to expand the facilities at Daniel Oduber Airport?
The idea for an airport in Guanacaste was initially conceived during the government of Daniel Oduber Quirós (1974–1978).
Being initially named “Llano Grande”, due to the name of the area that it was built in, it would later be named “Aeropuerto Tomas Guardia,” and then changed to the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, the name of the ex-president in honor of his work for the province of Guanacaste.
However, most referred to is at “Liberia International Airport” or “Liberia airport in Guanacaste”.
In 2006, to manage the increased demand of the airport, the government and local tourism chamber boards set aside funds to increase the parking capacity of the tarmac from five to eight airplanes, and for the construction of a parallel taxiway.
However, the government made it clear that the solutions were only temporary and that a private company would need to be contracted to expand and operate the airport in the future, which led to a 20-year concession to design, finance, construct and operate a new terminal building and its associated landside facilities, as well as approximately 36,000 m2 (390,000 sq ft) of airport land currently occupied by the existing terminal and associated facilities.