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El Nuevo Dorado International Airport , previously called El Dorado International Airport, is an international airport located in Bogot√°marker, Colombiamarker. It is the largest Latin American airport in terms of cargo movements 578,812 tons (2008) and the fourth in terms of passenger traffic, only behind Mexico Citymarker's Benito Juarez International Airportmarker, S√£o Paulo-Guarulhos International Airportmarker and Congonhas-S√£o Paulo Airportmarker; transporting 13,456,331 passengers in 2008; as well as the largest airport in Colombiamarker and the main international and domestic air gateway in the country, serving as an important hub for Avianca (the national flag carrier of Colombia), AeroRep√ļblica, Aires, EasyFly and other important Cargo Companies. It is managed by Opain (acronym of Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional), a consortium composed of Colombianmarker construction / engineering firms and the Swissmarker Flughafen Z√ľrich AGmarker. Opain will also operate the airport for the next 20 years.

El Dorado is, politically and economically, the most important airport in Colombiamarker and serves as the nation's primary international gateway, accounting for 49% of the total air traffic in the country. It handles all domestic and international flights into Bogot√°, D.C.marker and boasts the world's third largest landing field of land. El Dorado is located about west of the city center. The airport enjoys a connection with Avenida El Dorado (Calle 26) one of Bogot√°'s fastest runways which runs across the city in the east-west axis onto the city center and permanent public transportation (buses and taxis). By the end of the year 2008, started the construction of the TransMileniomarker, which will connect the airport with the massive transportation system of the city.


The airport has two passenger terminal, the main terminal, El Dorado, named after the famed legend of El Dorado, was built in 1959 and handles all international arrivals, as well as all other airlines and all of Avianca's international flights. Check-in counters, ticket counters, immigration office and customs are located on the lower level while information boards, information office, waiting rooms and emigration are located on the upper level.

The main building has two concourses, the national concourse and the international concourse. The national concourse has 11 gates and additional 5 for regional flights. The international concourse has 9 gates. This main building has a passenger area of and provides different services such as travel agencies, drug stores, restaurants and cafeterias, book stores and craft shops, ATM machines and Duty Free shops. Telecom offers telephone service for international and national calls, as well as fax and Internet service ($11 USD for 24 hours of WiFi access). At the national and international arrivals, passengers can find tourist information offices and transportation services within the city.

The second terminal is the Puente Aéreo Terminal (Air Bridge Terminal, in English) which opened in 1981, is a privately owned terminal that exclusively serves Avianca's and its subsidiary SAM's, domestic and regional flights. Initially, the terminal exclusively served passengers on the Miamimarker, New York-JFKmarker, Calimarker, Medellínmarker, Pastomarker, and Montería routes. Newly renovated (Oct, 2006), after an investment of $7.5 million USD. El Puente Aéreo has become the most modern domestic terminal in Latin America. The terminal handles a total of more than 120 daily flights with capacity to handle 4.4 million passengers annually. It adds, as well, a constructed area of and 14 domestic gates. Some of the benefits of the Puente Aéreo Terminal include record connecting times between domestic flights. The terminal also provides additional services for travelers and visitors, such as access to shopping facilities, national and international calls, taxi services, ATM machines, restaurants and fast food restaurants and book shops.


The El Dorado Passenger Terminal was designed during the government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. Its construction began in 1955 and entered in service at the end of 1959, replacing the interim terminal, and joining other portions of the then brand new airport. The new terminal consisted of several taxiways, maintenance platforms, parking areas, a cellar, passenger halls, Mezzanine areas and other amenities. Its second floor consisted of the departures area with, executive waiting rooms, and restaurants. The Third floor consisted mainly of offices for the airlines and the offices of other airport related services. The fourth floor held the Offices of Management and Dependencies of the managing company which accounted through to the Fifth floor. The Sixth floor contained mainly the dependencies of meteorology and power station of air navigation aids of the ECA. The Seventh floor held the route control facilities for the runways and taxiways, and the Eighth floor contained air traffic radar controllers. The Ninth floor contained the airport's electrical maintenance and offices, and the Tenth floor held the control tower and area air traffic controllers.

  • In 1973, the airport hit a milestone by serving nearly three million passengers, and processing nearly 5 million pieces of luggage. That year turned out to be one of most prosperous for the industry of aviation, registering high passenger growth in both domestic and international loads. In the year, the necessity for a second runway at El Dorado was expressed under concerned that the explosive growth would lead to overcongestion in due time.
  • In 1981, Avianca undertook the construction of the Puente A√©reo Terminal inaugurated by President Julio C√©sar Turbay Ayala, to serve its important, high density flights from Bogot√°marker to Calimarker, Medell√≠nmarker, Miamimarker and New York Citymarker.
  • In 1990, the Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronauticsmarker moved to the third floor in the main building. During this same year, the Centro de Estudios Aeron√°uticos (CEA) was constructed and at the east part of the airport the building for the National Center for Aeronavigation.
  • In 1998, the second runway was officially opened.

Over the past few years, the baggage claim areas has been extended on both the northern and southern portions of the airport, and the Departure lounges towards the west have also been greatly expanded, adding more restaurants and shops.

Traffic and statistics

Runway 31R/13L
Busiest International Routes out of El Dorado Airport (2008)
Rank City Passenger Rank
1 Miami, United Statesmarker 572,942 1.39%
2 Panama City, Panamamarker 485,528 1 7.33%
3 Caracas, Venezuelamarker 475,862 1 1.72%
4 Madrid, Spainmarker 430,898 7.87%
5 Lima, Perumarker 413,144 22,27%
6 Quito, Ecuadormarker 285,494 8.06%
7 New York, United Statesmarker 228,404 11.24%
8 Mexico City, Mexicomarker 226,899 10.72%
9 Paris, Francemarker 173,740 0.79%
10 S√£o Paulo, Brazilmarker 161,977 1 49.30%
11 Ft.marker Lauderdale, USAmarker 133,749 3 33.88%
12 Santiago de Chilemarker 117,037 1 12.14%
13 Atlanta, USAmarker 104,712 1 3.23%
14 Buenos Aires, Argentinamarker 99,945 4 8,66%
15 San José de Costa Ricamarker 97,914 7.84%
16 Guayaquil, Ecuadormarker 94,450 4.64%
17 Houston, USAmarker 87,345 11.54%
18 Oranjestad, Arubamarker 70,764 9.57%
19 Los Angeles, USAmarker 61,463 22.31%
20 Valencia, Venezuelamarker 59,945

Avianca's main hub

On December 10, 1998, Avianca officially opened its hub in Bogotámarker, offering an estimated 6,000 possible connections per week, including greater numbers of frequencies, schedules and destinations served. Thus, the airline began to profit from the geographical location, population, and infrastructure of Colombiamarker’s capital city in order to benefit the country, as well as international travellers. Connections between domestic and international destinations are currently operated directly and through codesharing agreements with airlines such as Delta Air Lines, Mexicana, Lacsa (part of Grupo Taca), Iberia and Air Canada.

Operations out of the Bogot√°marker hub allow travelers to easily connect:

The hub also features facilities for easy transits, such as exclusive check-in counters for travelers in transit, as well as buses for the internal transportation between Puente Aéreo and El Dorado terminals, and a special lounge for international transit passengers to avoid having to go through Colombianmarker customs and immigration between transits.

Airport expansion

On August 24, 2006, the Colombianmarker government awarded a contract for a viable external investment of at least 650 million USD for the airport's expansion and modernization to Opain (acronym of Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional), a consortium composed of Colombianmarker construction / engineering firms and the Swissmarker Flughafen Z√ľrich AGmarker. Opain will also operate the airport for the next 20 years.

The expansion plan includes:

  • The construction of a new international terminal and the modernization of the current terminal (future national terminal) will have a total of for passengers, 16 gates, 144 Check-in counters and 58,924 parking spaces. The airport will be equipped with the most modern baggage handle technology as well as flight information systems and security and guarding mechanisms. The airport will have a capacity of 16 million passengers a year.
  • The construction of a new cargo terminal, which will allow easier access for trucks, for storage, for offices and 26 parking positions for planes.
  • The construction of a new office building annexed to the new international terminal, the building will be 6 floors tall and will have an area of .
  • The construction of a new maintenance area ( with an appropriate turbine tester and the sound barriers that are necessary to avoid noise pollution.

All the buildings will be earthquake-resistant.

The Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronauticsmarker and the Ministry of Transport have to make a decision over a proposal made by Opain, in which the domestic and international cargo areas are to be placed at the west part of the complex, making it easy for trucks and cargo vehicles to access the cargo areas without having to go into the city. This proposal will allow as well, further expansions of the passenger terminal.

Construction began on September 20, 2007 and should end in 2012.

The first part of this massive construction plan was opened to the public on March 20, 2008. After 6 months of constant work, the check-in area was expanded, the new CUTE system was installed as well as a new baggage handling system. All these works were made in order to help with the already chaotic airport until the new terminal is constructed.

The second part commenced on March 20, 2008 and will be open to the public on September 20, 2009. This includes a new international cargo terminal, the adecuation of the new national cargo terminal and the demolition of the actual national cargo terminal.

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Destinations with direct services from Bogot√°

Cargo airlines

Domestic Terminal

International Terminal

Accidents and incidents

  • On 7 June 1973, Vickers Viscount HK-1061 of Aerolineas TAO was damaged beyond economic repair in an accident on landing.
  • Avianca Flight 52, flying on a Bogota-Medellin-New York JFK route, crashed on January 25, 1990 on Long Islandmarker after running out of fuel.
  • Air France Flight 422 from Eldorado Airport to Quitomarker, Ecuadormarker, using an aircraft leased from TAME and flown with Ecuadorianmarker crew, crashed on April 20, 1998 into a mountain near Bogota. All 43 passengers and 10 crew died.
  • On July 7, 2008, a Kalitta Air Boeing 747-209B (N714CK serial number 22446/519) crashed shortly after departing from El Dorado International Airport in Bogot√°marker at 3:55 am. The plane was en route to Miami, Floridamarker, with a shipment of flowers. After reporting a fire in one of the engines, the plane attempted the return to the airport but crashed near the village of Madrid, Colombiamarker. One of the plane's engines hit a farm house, killing an adult and two children who lived there. The crew of eight survived.

See also


  1. Estadísticas de operaciones aéreas 2007
  2. Fatal Events Since 1970 for Air France
  3. AirDisaster.Com Accident Database

External links

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