Plans for new Santa Marta airport underway

Visitors to Santa Marta will touch down in a larger, more comfortable airport by 2014, El Heraldo newspaper reported Thursday.

The remodeled Simon Bolivar airport is slated to cost $21 million and will more than double in size, incorporating four new aircraft ports to keep pace with Santa Marta’s growing tourism industry.

Last year, the Colombian government committed more than $100 million to modernize six airports along the Caribbean coast and in the Santander department, as a means of attracting international tourists.

The director of the airport’s design and construction, said the new plans would allow for more natural light and ventilation in addition to decreasing energy costs. It also included more efficient entrance and exit points for baggage.

The blueprints are now heading to Bogota for final approval, according to Santa Marta’s head of airport concesions. He estimated that the construction, including demolishing existing parts of the airport section by section, would begin next January.

Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest colonial town, has become a popular beach spot in recent years.

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