Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport (IATA: VRA, ICAO: MUVR), formerly known as Varadero Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Varadero), is an international airport serving Varadero, Cuba and the province of Matanzas. The airport is located 5 km from the village of Carbonera, closer to the city of Matanzas than to Varadero. The closest airport to Varadero is Kawama Airport. In 2009, the airport handled 1.28 million passengers, making it the second busiest airport in Cuba after José Martí International Airport in Havana.
Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
Aeropuerto Juan Gualberto Gómez
|Serves||Varadero and Matanzas|
|Location||5 km from Carbonera|
|Elevation AMSL||64 m / 210 ft|
Source: Aerodrome chart
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Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport was built in 1989 and inaugurated by Fidel Castro, thus replacing the old Varadero airport located in Santa Marta, currently known as Kawama Airport. The airport was named after a journalist, fighter for the Cuban Independence and black rights activist in Cuba Juan Gualberto Gómez (1854–1933).
The terminal building has shops for tourists (including rum, cigars, T-shirts, books, carvings, pharmaceuticals) both before customs check point, at a large departures lounge with cafeterias on the upper level and a smaller air conditioned VIP lounge the lower level.
Immigration checkpoint consists of wooden booths for push doors opened by immigration officers after travelers have been processed. Customs check point consists of three x-ray machines. Two flights of stairs and an escalator take travelers to the departure lounge. Tour operators offices are located near the domestic terminal area.
The ground handling equipment is imported mainly from North America. There are four jet bridges (serving parking areas 2 to 5), but air stairs are used for the remaining aircraft parking space #1 on the apron by the terminal.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
Accidents and incidentsEdit
There have been five significant incidents involving aircraft from or en route to the airport since the 1950s. Only 1 flight involved resulted in fatalities. Three flights involved Cubans hijacking an aircraft to flee to the United States.
- March 6, 2005 - Air Transat Flight 961 Airbus A310 returned safely to airport following detachment of rudder after take off.
- December 29, 1992 - Aerocaribbean Antonov 26 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. The aircraft landed in Miami.
Accidents and incidents that occurred at Varadero (Santa Marta) Airport (now as Kawama Airport):
- July 3, 1961 - Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 was hijacked en route to Varadero Airport from Havana. Aircraft lands in Miami.
- April 25, 1959 - Cubana de Aviación Vickers Viscount was hijacked after takeoff from the Varadero Airport and forced to land at Key West International Airport.
- November 1, 1958 - Cubana de Aviación Flight 495 Vickers Viscount 755D crashes in Nipe Bay when attempting an emergency landing at Preston Airport. Plane was en route to Varadero from Miami with 20 on board. Only 3 survived with 17 fatalities.
- Aerodrome chart Archived 2011-06-26 at the Wayback Machine issued 10 May 2007
- "www.radioangulo.cu - Servicios Archivo Aeropuerto de Varadero entre los mejores del país (Spanish only)".[permanent dead link]
- "DISCURSO PRONUNCIADO POR FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA CUBA, EN LA INAUGURACION DEL AEROPUERTO INTERNACIONAL DE VARADERO "JUAN GUALBERTO GOMEZ", EL 25 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1989, "AÑO 31 DE LA REVOLUCION"". www.cuba.cu.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 26 CU-T110 Miami International Airport, FL (MIA)". aviation-safety.net.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-3 registration unknown Miami, FL". aviation-safety.net.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Viscount registration unknown Key West International Airport, FL (EYW)". aviation-safety.net.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers 755D Viscount CU-T603 Preston Airport (PST)". aviation-safety.net.