Inauguration of domestic flights Managua - Greytown
Róger Solórzano Canales | May 23, 2012
The connection will be made twice each week, on a journey of 1 hour 20 minutes.
The recently completed Greytown airport, located in the jungle mouth of the Rio San Juan in the Caribbean, was officially inaugurated yesterday by a formal press conference in Managua. At this conference, it was reported the onset of domestic flights between the capital city and the town made by the airline “La Costeña”, which as of tomorrow Thursday, May 24th, begins to offer the connection twice a week with a price of $165 round trip.
The Biosphere Reserve “Indio-Maíz”, the lush San Juan River, the Caribbean beaches, the Blue Lagoon, as well as indigenous and colonial archaeological sites which are some of the diverse and little known attractions in the area, whose accessibility to foreign and national tourists has improved now thanks to the airport. Before, reaching the area was only possible with a panga ride (boat) by the San Juan River, which could last between 10 and 4 hours depending on the engines from the city of San Carlos.
Greytown, also called San Juan del Norte, is the former site of an old colonial city disputed between the crowns of Spain and England (hence the two names). The city was destroyed in the years 1980s, during the last national war, and rebuilt a decade later a few miles north, in the course of the Indian River. Its name was recently changed to San Juan de Nicaragua. Today, the old cemeteries and other architectural vestiges remain from that ancient city, accompanied now by the modern air terminal.
During the conference, Julio Caballero, General Manager of “La Costeña”, said that the flights will be on Thursdays and Sundays of each week, leaving the International Airport "Augusto C. Sandino" (Managua) at noon, and returning from Greytown at 1:35 PM the same days. The cost of the trip is $165 round trip and $110 if a single pathway. The duration of the trip is 1 hour 20 minutes, and 1 hour 15 minutes back, said the official.
It should be noted that tourists should make a short trip of 10 minutes between the airport and the town of San Juan de Nicaragua. To achieve this last connection, said Misael Morales, the town mayor, the municipality has provided small boats synchronized with the arrivals and departures of the flights. Passengers can move between the people and the terminal by a transportation cost between US$5 and US$7, depending on the group.
Currently only 12 passengers aircrafts will be traveling, but at the end of the second stage of the project, with which the airfield will be extended, they will be able to make flights with 46 passengers aircraft. "It will take a while, but the future is bright," Caballero said during the conference, referring to the expected influx of passengers at Greytown. Later, he added, they will evaluate the possibility of making a connection San Carlos - Greytown.
The second stage already begun
Julio Videa, Marketing Director of the National Tourism Board -INTUR-, entity in charge of the airport construction by the “Ruta del Agua” (Water Route) project, which receives funds by the Inter-American Development Bank, said that the airfield is currently 1.200 meters length, which allows to receive small airplanes. The terminal has a modern administration and reception of passengers building. In total, there have been more than US$12,000,000, invested in the airport, pointed the official.
15 days ago the second phase of the project started, which contemplates to complete another 300 meters of track that will allow to receive larger aircraft and passenger capacity. This stage will be ready in a couple of months, said the Mayor Misael Morales. Julio Videa pointed that in the future they hope to promote the connection between Greytown and other cities in the neighboring countries of Central America.
"For many years we were isolated," said the excited mayor as the start of an emotional speech thanking the government of Nicaragua and the “Ruta de Agua” (Water Route) Project for the infrastructure improvements that are being implemented in their municipality. The airport, he said, will boost the local economy of this privileged area.
Translated by Aída Pichardo