RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines on Wednesday became the first company to confirm that it will operate three flights from the United States, starting on November 17, to Palmerola International Airport central Honduras.
The announcement was made today by Camilo Martelo, Director of International Airports for Spirit Airlines Latin America, at a ceremony attended by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and Peter Fleming, Director of the Airports Division of the Emco Group.
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“Today, we announce that we will be initiating services from Palmerola starting November 17 with three direct flights: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Houston,” he stressed.
Martelo affirmed that Spirit Airlines, flying to Honduras since 2007, “is more Honduran than ever.”
The Palmerola Airport, a work that is partly financed by Spain, was tendered in 2015 during Hernández’s first term in office through a Public-Private Partnership and was awarded to the consortium formed by Emco and the international operator from Munich, which will invest some US$87 million in the contract for a 30-year term.
The Honduran President indicated that the construction of Palmerola, whose works will be completed this year, “was not easy” due to questioning from several sectors.
“We knew the potential that Palmerola and the Comayagua Valley give to Honduras”, said Hernández, who said that the arrival of Spirit Airlines to the new civil airport means “competitiveness” and will allow “low-cost flights and greater facilities for Hondurans to fly”.
He added that Honduras is the only country in the world with a law that guarantees benefits to low-cost airlines so that the population can buy their tickets “cheaper”.
Honduras is the nation “with the greatest diversity of tourist destinations at short distances, and now at low prices, there is no country in the region that has that advantage, I am thrilled because this was a dream,” he emphasized.
President Hernández pointed out that his country “is getting ready to be among the big ones” and thanked Spirit Airlines “for its confidence” by confirming that it will fly to Palmerola, which will operate in the same site where a Honduran Air Force base built by the U.S. in the early ’80s of the last century operates,
HONDURAS, A COUNTRY OF OPPORTUNITIES
Palmerola will be “just one piece of what will eventually be a huge employment zone through the “city-airport” concept,” added Hernández, who said the new terminal would open up “thousands” of opportunities for Hondurans.
“This is the Honduras of today, we said it, and we did it. Let’s get ready to fly high, seeking to accomplish our goals, and we thank Spirit for trusting Honduras. This is a country of opportunities, and we must take advantage of them,” he explained.
Palmerola will be located in the central department of Comayagua, the country’s capital, founded by the Spanish, and is partially financed by Spain with 53 million dollars as part of a debt conversion program with Honduras. At the same time, 23 million will be contributed by the Honduran government.
The consortium in charge projects that Palmerola will receive 1.7 million passengers per year, compared to the 290,000 passengers that Toncontín received in 2019.
The project, whose runway comprises a 39,000-square-meter construction, will have eleven boarding gates, including four remote ones, a commercial ramp, and a cargo ramp, according to Emco.