Honduras, on Friday, opened Palmerola International Airport, jointly with a US military base, to replace the current airport in the capital, which is considered one of the most dangerous in the world.
The first flights to Palmerola, in the Comayagua Valley, 75 kilometers north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, will not depart for a month, when the control tower and facilities for airlines and passengers are completed.
“Honduras is at the forefront of air connectivity,” President Juan Orlando Hernandez said in a speech at the opening ceremony with Palmerola. “We will keep the civilian station and the joint task force (with the United States) because it benefits Honduras,” he added.
The airport facilities, including a 2,800-square-meter runway and 39,000-square-meter terminal, cost about $200 million (172 million euros). The airport will be operated by a Honduran company and a German consortium, in exchange for a 30-year concession.
The United States set up, in 1985, the Palmerola Air Base, which was used notably to deliver American aid to the Contras, the insurgency opposed to the Nicaraguan government. At least 500 American soldiers are still stationed there.
The capital’s Tonkontin airport, through which about 800,000 passengers pass annually, is surrounded by mountains and a short runway, is considered one of the most dangerous in the world.
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