San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International airport is on the rise again, capturing new long-haul international routes roughly two years after the airport was privatised.
“We just started bringing long-hauls back,” says Agustin Arellano, chief executive of Aerostar Airport Holdings, which leases the airport from Puerto Rico.
Iberia today announced it will resume service between Madrid and San Juan from May next year, while Norwegian this month launcheed new nonstop Boeing 787 flights to Puerto Rico from Copenhagen, London, Oslo and Stockholm.
Those routes come roughly two years after the airport was leased to Aerostar, which is now overseeing a major renovation project.
The airport is renovating its terminals and 29 gates at a cost of $210 million, and expects the project to be completed by March of next year.
In 2015, available seats to the airport will increase 3% year-over-year to 5.1 million, reversing declines of 1% in 2014 and 8% in 2013, according to Innovata data.
San Juan remains the top airport in the Caribbean based on available seats, data shows.
The airport benefits from a “very consistent base” of local traffic, says Arellano, noting that Puerto Ricans account for 80% of the airport’s capacity.
Still, the airport’s capacity has not rebounded from a slide that began around the start of the US recession in 2007.
Back then, available seats to San Juan stood at about 7.5 million, but tumbled by double-digits percentages in the two years that followed, Innovata data shows.
Then American Airlines, which had long been the airport’s dominant carrier, began dismantling its San Juan hub, cutting capacity nearly 40% year-over-year in 2013, data shows. JetBlue has since overtaken it as the airport's largest operator, representing a third of ASK capacity at San Juan today.
In addition to more European capacity, both United Airlines and Copa have added 17% more seats to San Juan in the last year, and Avianca’s available seats to the city have jumped 43% year-over-year, data shows.
In addition, in the last year InselAir Aruba has launched twice-weekly flights to San Juan from Aruba and Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris started twice-weekly flights from Cancun.
Source: Cirium Dashboard