1980: A New International Airport is Opened in El Salvador

January 31, 1980

A new international airport officially began operations in the south-central area of El Salvador. This facility – originally called Cuscatlan International Airport – is located in the municipality of San Luis Salvador, which is about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from the country’s capital city of San Salvador. The first flight for the airport on its opening day was a Transportes Aereos del Continente Americano (TACA Airlines) plane bound for Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción (also known as Guatemala City), the capital of Guatemala.

Starting in the early 1970s, construction of this airport had been strongly advocated by El Salvador President Arturo Armando Molina as a replacement for Ilopango International Airport in the eastern section of San Salvador. That airport, tracing its origins back to 1923, had long served as San Salvador’s international airport and is now used only for local, charter, military, and air taxi flights. The new airport was built between 1975 and 1979 under the direction of the Japanese construction company Hazama Corporation (part of present-day Hazama Ando Corporation).

In 1998, Cuscatlan International Airport was formally renamed El Salvador International Airport. The facility underwent another name change in 2014 when El Salvador President Mauricio Funes announced that it would be officially known instead as El Salvador International Airport Saint Oscar Arnuflo Romero y Galdámez in memory of one of the country’s most revered heroes.

Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and staunch champion of social justice, was serving as archbishop of San Salvador when he was assassinated in 1980. (Romero was canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1980.) A couple of months after announcing that the designation of the airport would henceforth include Romero’s name, Funes unveiled a ceremonial plaque at the facility to mark this renaming.

The airport handles an annual average of 3,411,015 passengers, making it El Salvador’s busiest airport. In addition, El Salvador International Airport Saint Oscar Arnuflo Romero y Galdámez is surpassed only by Tocumen International Airport in Panama and Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica as the busiest airport in all of Central America.

For more information on El Salvador International Airport Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (originally called Cuscatlan International Airport), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador_International_Airport.

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