Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Quirós) (IATA: LIR, ICAO: MRLB), also known as Liberia International Airport, is one of the four international airports in Costa Rica. The airport is located in the city of Liberia in Guanacaste Province. It serves specially as a tourism hub for those who visit the Pacific coast and Western Costa Rica. The airport is considered the “gateway” to the Costa Rican Riviera often called the Golden Coast. The airport is named for Daniel Oduber Quirós, who served as president of Costa Rica from 1974 to 1978. The airport is just 30 minutes away from the Papagayo Gulf (Four Seasons Pagapayo, Hilton Papagayo, Occidental Papagayo) and 45 minutes to an hour from the other resorts like Westin Playa Cochal, RIU Guanacaste, Tamarindo Diria and JW Marriott at Hacienda Pinilla.
Daniel Oduber Quirós International airport is the country’s second and Central America’s ninth busiest airport. In 2010, Liberia International Airport reported 443,585 passengers, a 16% increase compared to 2009
The idea for an airport in the province of Guanacaste was initially conceived during the government of Daniel Oduber Quirós (1974–1978). The airport was initially named “Llano Grande”, due to the name of the area that it was built in. It would later be named “Aeropuerto Tomas Guardia” and the last name it received is the name of the ex president Daniel Oduber Quirós in honor of his work for the province of Guanacaste. Even though most of the people call it “Liberia International Airport”.
In October 1995 the airport was re-inaugurated as an international airport, as a part of the expansion the pavement on the runway was redone, and special landing lights were installed. Also a firefighter station was added to comply with FAA and international regulations. Initial response from commercial airlines to the expansion was timid, however after one year the airport went from having only one weekly charter flight to almost one everyday.
In 2006 to manage increased demand, the government and local tourism chamber boards set aside funds to increase the parking area on the tarmac from 5 to 8 airplanes and the construction of a parallel taxiway. However the government made it clear that the solutions were only temporary and that a private company would need to be contracted to expand and operate the airport in the future. Also in 2007 a new waiting area and airport counters were opened, the airport was by then receiving more than 180,000 visitors yearly.
The government of Costa Rica awarded CORIPORT, S.A., a 20-year concession to design, finance, construct and operate a new terminal building and its associated landside facilities, as well as approximately 36,000 m2 (390,000 sq ft) of airport land currently occupied by the existing terminal and associated facilities. CORIPORT’s shareholders include MMM Aviation Group, Emperador Pez Espada S.R.L., Inversiones Cielo Claro LTDA, Cocobolo Inversiones S.R.L., and ADC&HAS Airports Worldwide who is also the project’s operator.
The new terminal building, encompassing approximately 23,000 m2 (250,000 sq ft), will feature a contemporary design that both increases efficiency and capacity over the existing facility. Construction started on October 19, 2010 with opening scheduled for the end of 2011.
New Liberia International Airport
In Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, a brand new facility was built at Liberia (LIR) Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport. This is the second international airport for Costa Rica after San Jose (SJO) Juan Santamaría International.
The new airport terminal just missed its opening date of November 17th. The new terminal is in an evaluation phase as of this writing and the process and criteria for establishing an opening date for the new facility are being determined by the Government of Costa Rica. Coriport remains committed to this process and hopes to receive a date for opening soon.
In the meantime, passengers are using the old facility; once the new facility opens, it will be a night and day difference for both travelers and airport employees.
The new terminal features 2 levels, 28 check-in counters, and 7 gates airside (four contact gates, three stands.) Behind the scenes exists a high-tech baggage system with in-line explosives detection unit. The new facility will also boast a capacity of 1,500 passengers at peak hours.
Guanacaste is located in the northwest of Costa Rica and is the gateway to the Pacific which is home to many high end resorts as well as popular beach towns such as Tamarindo. Despite a temporary drop in traffic to this region, the demand for easy access is increasing quickly.
Liberia’s Airport in Guanacaste is also becoming a popular alternative to San Jose’s (SJO) Juan Santamaría International for travel to the volcano’s (i.e. Arenal) to the east.
Americans & Canadians make-up the largest group of visitors, but the fastest growing group are Europeans.
|Air Berlin||Seasonal: Düsseldorf|
|Air Canada||Seasonal: Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson|
|Air Transat||Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver|
|American Airlines||Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami|
|Copa Airlines||Panama City [begins June 24, 2012]|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul|
|JetBlue Airways||New York-JFK|
|Miami Air||Seasonal: Miami|
|Nature Air||San José-Tobías Bolaños, Tamarindo|
|Sun Country Airlines||Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul|
Seasonal: Montreal-Trudeau, Ottawa
|TACA Airlines||San Salvador|
|TACA Regional operated by Sansa||San José de Costa Rica|
|Thomas Cook Canada operated by Jazz Air||Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson|
|Thomson Airways||Seasonal: London-Gatwick|
|United Airlines||Houston-Intercontinental, Newark