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Plane on the airport runway in Costa Rica

Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica

We've been lenders’ advisor on this project since 2010, monitoring the airport development strategy (through semi-annual visits and review of the airport’s reports) including the delivery of construction elements and evaluation of operations. The airport operator also requested our input and advice for concept planning as well as with resolving specific issues.

Arial view of Juan Santamaria International Airport
Cost saving design
Cost saving design Our advice and inputs regarding a change in the design of the segregation corridors for arriving international passengers enabled the client to reduce the project’s cost by over a third, saving more than $1.5M.


There had been some significant issues with the airport development plan – such as the requirement for passenger segregation between arriving and departing passengers on international flights, and the lack of adequately sized runway end safety areas (RESA). Both of these were highlighted by an ICAO audit of the airport.

The initial plans indicated that significant capital expenditure would be required to carry out the solutions proposed. Aeris had a strictly limited capital expenditure budget which was already fully allocated. Mott MacDonald was asked to review the development proposals on behalf of the lenders, and to make suggestions for a more cost-effective solution.


With a wealth of experience working at airports of varying sizes all over the world, we were able to review the potential solutions proposed and efficiently identify possible modifications which could save the airport operator time and money. ‘Thinking outside the box’ our aviation experts applied innovative solutions to unique challenges which has demonstrated some significant cost savings. For example:

  • Our advice and inputs regarding a change in the design of the segregation corridors for arriving international passengers enabled the client to reduce the project’s cost by over a third, saving more than $1.5M.
  • A similar peer-review exercise on the RESA project led us to recommend a drastic reduction in the quantity of earthworks used, which has the potential to decrease the project’s cost by over $10M.


The continued expansion of the airport and its ability to offer a high quality service are key to facilitating the growth of the tourist market in Costa Rica, which has been growing steadily thanks to its combination of beaches, volcanoes and tropical rainforest. In 2010, tourism accounted for 5.5% of the Costa Rican GDP.

This project has enhanced the ability of the airport to manage these capacity requirements in a safer and securer mode of operation while delivering to a tight budget.

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