The Civil Aviation Authority has already accepted the protocols for passenger airlines as well as for sending packages and food to resume operations. Avianca, the main airline of the Airport, will begin its work with flights to 9 destinations.
Seventeen passenger airlines, services and package delivery have been confirmed to resume operations this coming September 19 when the San Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is reactivated again.
The Civil Aviation Authority reported that it has already accepted the biosecurity protocols of each one of them, so it is at its discretion the number of flights and schedules that will be announced for the next few days.
Avianca, the main commercial passenger airline in El Salvador, confirmed yesterday that it will resume its operations with 9 destinations in Central America and the United States and a total of 15 flights on September 19 alone.
The other airlines with approved protocols to restart are Spirit, Copa Airlines, Aerorutas Maya, Iberia, American Airlines, Amerijet, Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos (TAG), DHL, Delta Airlines, Volaris, United Airlines, Tri-Star, AirSupport, Kitchen of flights , Aerodespacho and Hernández Express.
The president of the Autonomous Port Executive Commission (Cepa), Federico Anliker, confirmed that adjustments are still being made with the airlines.
“We are still matching the scheduling with the airlines. They (the airlines) have to confirm, ”he said.
The Salvadoran airport will be the last in Central America to open its doors to international flights, because while most countries have already opened their terminals to tourists in a controlled manner, it must still wait a few more days.
The other countries in the region began to enable their terminals from the first days of August. Costa Rica was the first to start receiving flights with foreign tourists. It has done so gradually since September 1, receiving at least 6 weekly flights from the United States.
Honduras, for its part, resumed its terminal for foreign flights from August 17 and Panama began from August 14 on a limited basis and complying with all biosecurity requirements.
In El Salvador, CEPA has already adapted most of the areas to start welcoming travelers and their families.
At the moment there are only transit flights, that is, those passengers who arrive at the airport on an international flight, to continue their journey on another connecting flight without having to leave the airport.
The Salvadoran air terminal will open its skies to receive passengers and commercial flights with strict biosafety protocols and it is expected that in October the air activities will be 100% executed.
The plan to reactivate flights in the Central American region has been focused mainly on the particular conditions of the countries, as well as gradualness, order, harmonization, and operational and health safety.
Meanwhile, the country has continued to serve cargo, humanitarian and repatriation flights of Salvadorans. In addition, it has allowed the circulation of local flights in the territory.
Areas adapted to avoid the virus
Cepa, for its part, has adapted the airport facilities in accordance with the biosecurity protocols required to offer its services.
Among the changes are the installation of protective acrylics in the migration area and counters of each airline. These areas will be constantly being disinfected.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the airport also has thermal imaging cameras throughout the passenger terminal to monitor body temperature.
Cleaning and disinfection days have been scheduled for the area of boarding rooms and bridges, and seats have been designated in the waiting rooms, to maintain physical distance.
According to the measures issued by Cepa, only two companions per vehicle will be allowed to enter the parking lot, which is the designated place to drop off and receive passengers.
In the case of detecting a passenger with a temperature above 37.5 degrees, the protocol established by the International Sanitary Office for such cases will be activated.
The biosafety protocols were developed by a multidisciplinary team following recommendations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The protocols will be applied both in the passenger terminal and in the cargo terminal, in the administrative offices and other entry points.
On March 17, when El Salvador did not report any case of coronavirus, President Nayib Bukele ordered the closure of the international airport.
The president of Cepa, during the announcement of the reactivation of the airport, mentioned that in the first two stages of the reopening of operations it is contemplated that the stores operating at the airport work at 50% of their capacity under sanitary measures.
When the airport was closed, the official stated that Cepa would not charge rents to the occupants of the commercial premises.
The areas with the highest concentration of people such as the stag parties or food sales will be closed and will continue in that way, to gradually open up. Only the waiting area will be open but with a reduction of 50% of its capacity.
Biosecurity measures for each airline
Some of the airlines have released part of their particular protocols. Avianca, for example, emphasizes that if a passenger has a fever, nausea, headache, body ache or difficulty breathing, they will not be able to travel.
The passenger must bring their biosecurity items, mask, gel, among others, reading material and documents required in the countries of origin and destination.
You must check-in online and save the ticket on your mobile or print it at home, the airline suggests arriving at the airport earlier, as new security and check-in protocols may have been implemented.
The use of a mask is mandatory throughout the flight and at the airport, travelers must be aware of calls in the lounge and only approach the boarding area when their group is mentioned. The boarding will be done in small groups.
It also suggests that hand luggage be as light as possible so that the passenger can locate it on the plane. Due to aeronautical regulations, the crew will not be able to help in this process.
For safety, the food service was simplified. Food and beverages will be served in individual packages.
In Central America, air traffic has reduced operations by 90%, refer to data provided by the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (Sica.)