QCOSTARICA – In an effort to save ¢180 million colones a year in operating costs, the Dirección General de Aviación Civil (DGAC) last week announced nightly closures of the Tobias Bolaños (Pavas) international airport, from 6:00pm to 6:00am, starting October 1.
However, the decision has found strong opposition both from the tourism sector and independent airlines.
Pilots and aviation companies operating of out the Pavas airport believe this is a setback and a direct blow to tourism that moves between the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and tourist destinations.
Everardo Carmona, pilot and owner of the Carmonair, said “it took a lot to have the airport open from 5:00am to 6:00am and 6:00pm to 9:00pm, in lighting and strip markings, five years ago we were successful in having the DGAC open the airport at night.”
“They say it will save ¢180 million colones, but are not thinking that many of the people we transport at night pay US$1,000 to US$1,500 dollars (…) closing nightime operations of Pavas is a 25 year stepback in aviation,” said Carmona.
“There is an increasing demand for national tourism. We are making investments, both at Carmonair and Nature Air to increase its fleet at the Pavas airport,” said Carmona.
The curfew also means companies cannot use the hangars and carry out night time maintenance of aircraft, after flying all day.