Ezeiza Opens New Terminal C

Once completed, the infrastructure will be much more flexible than the existing one so that it can adapt to changing passenger traffic patterns.

Luigi Vallero explores the latest development from Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Once completed, the infrastructure will be much more flexible than the existing one so that it can adapt to changing passenger traffic patterns.

The fast-growing Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), also known as Ministro Pistarini International Airport, is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the country’s major international gateway.  It has recently completed another phase of its ‘Ezeiza 2009’ redevelopment plan, which should help to secure the continuing importance of this South American hub.
Changes to EZE began to take place when its operator Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 (AA2000) took over the airport in 1998.  Today, it is regularly served by a growing number of airlines, which provide more than 71,000 annual movements to destinations across five continents.  Destinations have now been added in the Middle East and Asia, which indicate a gradual recovery for the Buenos Aires’ economy after the recent global recession.
Ezeiza 2009:  planning the future
The ‘Ezeiza 2009’ project, launched in the September of that year, called for the existing airport to be completely renovated and extended, with completion planned for 2013.  In its final phase, the upgraded terminal building should be able to cope with projected traffic levels of 13 million passengers per annum.
Terminal C is an integral part of the ‘Ezeiza 2009’ project, which aims to give the airport a final capacity of 13 million passengers per annum. (All images AA2000)

On July 9, 2011, the brand new Terminal C was opened in the presence of Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, Ernesto Gutiérrez, and other local dignitaries.
The new facility – built according to the latest standards and incorporating state-of-the-art operational, safety and security systems – was made possible by an investment of AR$600 million (US$142m), and construction took place over 19 months.
The functional building covers a total surface of 226,042sq ft (21,000m2) and offers four new air bridge parking positions, including eight finger-piers, extra baggage carousels and 12 immigration points.  The terminal is also easily accessible due to a new bridge linking it with the Ricchieri freeway into the city centre.  So far the terminal has been solely used by the carrier Aerolineas Argentinas, although SkyTeam airlines are expected to move there in the future.
Terminal C is an integral part of the ‘Ezeiza 2009’ project, which aims to give the airport a maximum throughput of 4,000 passengers per hour and 90,000 annual movements.  Of the anticipated 13mppa, 10 million are expected to be international, 2.5 million domestic and 500,000 will constitute transit passengers.  In terms of infrastructure, the completed development will consist of a single 1,237,850sq ft (115,000m2) terminal, featuring 21 air bridges, 200 check-in desks, 83 immigration positions, an airside apron area covering 2,002,087sq ft (186,000m2), and parking for 4,800 vehicles.
The ambitious project was organised in phases to avoid disrupting regular service at the airport.  Once completed, EZE aims to be more able to adapt to the changing passenger traffic patterns, and should attain a maximum flow of 2,800 arriving and 4,000 departing international travellers at peak times.
The new facility incorporates state-of-the-art operational, safety and security systems and was built over 19 months with an investment of AR$600 million (US$142m).

The terminal complex, split across four levels, will comprise the remodelled check-in hall of the existing Terminal A (known as the northern hall), a similar newly built check-in hall, a new southern pier for domestic operations, a central main body for boarding and deplaning, and the older, although completely restructured
and refurbished, International Terminal Building.
The first phase of the renovation project began in September 2009 and started with the demolition of the previous Terminal C, some older warehouses and the cargo terminal.  This made it possible to extend Terminal A.  With new facilities in place, EZE was able to accommodate all flights transferred from Buenos Aires’ domestic and regional Aeroparque (AEP) during its 45-day closure at the end of 2010 for runway refurbishment.  Furthermore, this move was also responsible for the substantial increase in aircraft and passenger movements at EZE during 2010, compared to 2009’s total.
After AEP reopened and services returned to normal, the original ‘Ezeiza 2009’ development plan was resumed, and the project now required the demolition of Terminal B.  The only structures saved from being torn down were the historic 1950s-era buildings, which will be retained to maintain EZE’s distinctive look.  This, however, will not affect the construction of the new check-in and international areas, and it is claimed that these will be able to simultaneously handle up to three A380 aircraft.
The next section of the development project began as Terminal C opened in July.  Construction started on the Central Hall which will be dedicated to domestic operations.
Other improvements planned under the ‘Ezeiza 2009’ project include the creation of new car parks, revised and improved viability, a new fire services station, maintenance modules, and an express courier terminal.  A new airport hotel will also be built close to the Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 headquarters.
Acknowledgements: The author wishes to thank Eliana Ramos, Director of Communications, AA2000, for her support in preparing this article.