There is a new international airport in Honduras, ready to serve the capital Tegucigalpa. The former Toncontin International Airport located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will now only receive domestic flights, and instead, all international connectivity will land in the new Palmerola International Airport. Let’s investigate further.
Spirit opened up the new airport
Earlier this week, Spirit Airlines inaugurated the new Palmerola International Airport, IATA code XPL. The US low-cost carrier landed at the new airport with a flight from Houston, Texas, using an Airbus A319 aircraft.
Spirit Airlines operated Palmerola’s second international flight half an hour later, now from Miami.
— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) December 12, 2021
Spirit Airlines was the first carrier to announce flights from the new hub earlier this year. It will offer nonstop flights between XPL and Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Miami International Airport (MIA), and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
John Kirby, Vice President of Network Planning at Spirit Airlines, said,
“Our new air service to the Tegucigalpa area provides convenient nonstop travel options for both Honduras tourism and our Guests looking to visit family and friends.”
The new hub in the region
Palmerola International Airport was built in Comayagua, Honduras. It aims to serve the residents of Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, although it is 70 kilometers away from the capital city
The new hub is replacing Toncontin International Airport, situated inside the capital city, and had no way to grow any further. Honduras began the construction of the new airport on December 5, 2016. The project is estimated to have cost US$163 million. It is designed to handle approximately 1.5 million passengers per year and has an operational life of 50 years.
The Honduran president inaugurated the airport on October 15, 2021. Nonetheless, the first commercial flight happened on Saturday, December 11, by Spirit. Since that flight, several airlines have announced they are moving their operations to Palmerola.
Felicidades 🎉 @PalmerolaHN por un exitoso inicio de operaciones.
El nuevo aeropuerto mejorará conectividad ✈️ del país y aumentará la oferta para pasajeros y añadirá más capacidad para la carga.
XPL: nuevo código IATA que se une a la zona metropolitana de Tegucigalpa (TGU).
— IATA (@IATA) December 17, 2021
International airlines move operations to Palmerola
Toncontin International Airport is ranked as one of the most complex airports to land in the world. It has a short runway of 2,163 meters, and upon landing, planes fly near mountains and residential neighborhoods while pilots execute a 45-degree turn.
Hoy, 16 de diciembre de 2021, finalizan las operaciones internacionales en el Aeropuerto de Toncontín en Tegucigalpa. Recordaré con emoción la difícil aproximación que es un reto para cualquier aviador. Sin duda, en ala rotativa no es ni la mitad de emocionante que en ala fija. pic.twitter.com/7d8M60qz2j
— Lucas Castrellón (@lucascas82) December 16, 2021
Following the inauguration of the new Palmerola International Airport, the international airlines are moving their flights out of Toncontin.
So far, Copa Airlines, Avianca, American Airlines, United Airlines, Aeromexico, and Spirit Airlines have moved (or announced) their flights to Palmerola.
Verna Osorio, operation manager of American Airlines in Honduras, said,
“This Thursday (December 16), we will be moving our operations from Tegucigalpa to Palmerola. It is an important date for Honduras, and our team is proud of supporting this new project by the government. American has over 30 years of history in Honduras.”
Next month, there are 513 scheduled flights landing at Palmerola International Airport, according to data provided by Cirium.
American Airlines flies from Dallas Fort Worth, and Miami; Aeromexico from Mexico City; Avianca from Guatemala and San Salvador; Copa Airlines from Panama; Spirit from Fort Lauderdale, Houston, and Miami; and United from Houston.
Meanwhile, Toncontin will also have a few scheduled domestic flights. According to Cirium, it will have 482 flights by CM Airlines and Aerolíneas Sosa, connecting Roatan, San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba with Honduras’ capital city.
Did you ever land at Toncontin International Airport? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments below.