Interview: Juan José Salmón Balestra

What will Jorge Chávez International Airport’s passenger and cargo capacity be after the new terminal and runway have been completed?

JUAN JOSÉ SALMÓN: Under the expansion project a second runway and a new terminal will be constructed. This will allow the airport to increase its current capacity from 23m passengers per year in 2018 to over 35m when the project is completed. The expansion will also enable cargo capacity to almost double from 285,000 tonnes in 2018 to around 449,000 tonnes.

Could you comment on the direct benefits expected from the construction of a second runway?

SALMÓN: The construction of the second runway will bring significant benefits to both passengers and the country. It will noticeably reduce waiting and taxi times for aeroplanes approaching the terminal, which will in turn improve the flow of arrivals and departures at the airport by approximately 50%. Moreover, a second runway will make the airport more appealing for new airlines, therefore increasing the number of destinations and flights available, contributing to a rise in tourism and the growth of the national economy.

How will this extension allow Lima to consolidate its position as the air hub of South America?

SALMÓN: We are still currently working to establish ourselves as the hub of the region. The expansion is a step in the right direction as it will increase the number of operators, available flights and new destinations. Therefore, these changes have the capacity to bring significant benefits to Peru’s international standing as a regional centre for air transport.

Will access to the airport and overall infrastructure be improved by the recent opening of a direct expressway to Jorge Chávez International?

SALMÓN: One of the main difficulties currently affecting passengers is access to the airport. This is largely due to dense traffic and congestion conditions in the Callao area, particularly during rush hours. For this reason, the planned terminal expansion will include a direct access route from Santa Rosa Avenue, alleviating the current traffic flows on Faucett Avenue. Our construction plan has also allotted a space for the future construction of a metro station that will connect the airport to Lima Metro lines.

In the case of the Línea Amarilla expressway, we hope that in the near future it will be expanded to Gambetta Avenue, which would reduce travel time further. We believe that the overall connectivity of the airport must be improved, and this of course includes other mass public transport systems, allowing all Limeños to have an easily accessible airport terminal.

What impact will the increasing number of flights, passengers and cargo volumes are expected have on the airline market in the coming years?

SALMÓN: We expect a 6.9% increase in passenger volumes in 2019, compared to 2018 figures. Over the past few months we have started a series of improvement and expansion works in some areas of the existing terminal to better respond to these growing passenger numbers, while striving to provide an optimum service to all our terminal users. In terms of cargo figures we expect total transported cargo volumes to increase by around 3.5% in 2019 alone. New scheduled cargo flights, such as DHL’s new service, which will be able to transport up to 22 tonnes per flight, will also play a role in boosting the current figures.

We have observed a significant consolidation of the low-cost model in the Peruvian airline market throughout 2018, largely due to the entry of the Colombian airline Viva Air in 2017, and the recent operational expansion launched by Chilean airline Sky. Undoubtedly, the development of this travel model generates new opportunities to fly in different socio-economic segments as well as improving overall connectivity.