The future of Medellin’s inner city airport is up in the air with renewed suggestions that it should be turned into a park, reported the ADN newspaper on Wednesday.
Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport
According to councilman Juan Felipe Campuzano, who heads the proposal, the Enrique Olaya Herrera airport located in the southwest of the city is “an embarrassment to the city of Medellin.”
The dismantling of the airport would be no disruption of regional flights because the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport could continue those services.
According to Campuzano, the proposal is also based on the idea that a great central park for the city could replace the airport as well as the potential for increased living space. If the airport were to move more homes could be built in the central part of the city.
The local politician argues that currently no big buildings can be built as it would interfere with the planes.”We are building on the slopes buildings 30, 40 and 50 floors, this is illogical,” he said.
Peter Brand, professor of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the National University, says that it would be a positive move for a city that is missing large green and recreational spaces. “I would say in principle that the project makes sense but its viability depends on improving communication with the Jose Maria Cordova airport,” suggested the professor.
However, he clarified that the priority is not the houses but the green space in the city.
The idea of converting the airport into a large park is not new. Since Jose Maria Cordova opened in 1985 there has been talk of changing the terminals but the idea has remained just that, talk.
Airplan, the concessionaire that manages the Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, has stated that they would like to handle the issue carefully.
“We are respectful of those discussions and we will continue to carry out our work and provide a quality service,” said the Airplan manager, Emiliana Villa. The airport hosted 963,000 passengers in 2013 with 230 operations a day. The José María Córdova airport averages 6 million passengers a year.