Juan Santamaría International Airport follows protocol for potential arrivals of COVID-19 cases

March 2020. As one of its preventive measures, and in line with Costa Rican Health Ministry guidelines, the Juan Santamaria International Airport manager, AERIS, informs that since last January it has made available Gates 17 and 18 at the western end of the terminal (Block V) for evaluation of suspected or symptomatic cases of COVID-19.

This contingency plan follows the Health Ministry’s expert instructions and involves different airport community participants such as ATC, air operators, AERIS, Directorate General for Migration and Foreign Nationals, Health Ministry, Red Cross and Costa Rican Social Security Institute.

In collaboration with the Costa Rican government, AERIS has assumed responsibility and dedicated special holdrooms with the following features for handling public health events such as the one many countries around the world are currently experiencing:

  1. • The spaces are designed for wide-body aircraft and can therefore accommodate more than 300 passengers. This allows for joint or individual care for any case meriting assessment.
  2. • Entry to the holdrooms from any point in the terminal is controlled, facilitating the care of passengers in this or any other health situation.
  3. • The holdrooms feature wide access doors from the apron for entry of emergency services.
  4. • Cuenta con un sistema único de climatización que no se mezcla con el resto de los sistemas del Aeropuerto.
  5. • They have their own set of restrooms.
  6. • The holdrooms have a permanent cabinet in place that is designed to fit the space and function as an enclosure for keeping the supplies needed to facilitate passenger care.
  7. • There is easy access for moving passengers unaffected by the health event to a sterile passageway that reaches immigrations, following the regular flow.

What does the protocol indicate for a suspected case aboard the aircraft?

  1. • The crew notifies the control tower.
  2. • The control tower notifies AERIS Operations.
  3. • AERIS Operations notifies the Red Cross.
  4. • The Red Cross approaches the aircraft door to move the passenger to the area set aside for evaluation.
  5. • The Health Ministry and Red Cross conduct the indicated evaluation in Gates 17 and 18.

Within the air terminal, the protocol is as follows:

  • • Immigration officers verify basic passenger information such as occupation, intended destination and, specifically – due to the current situation – the country from where the passenger is coming (countries listed by the Health Ministry).
  • • If a potential case is detected, the passenger is asked to wait for the Health Ministry personnel in an area near the immigration windows in Arrivals. Once the assigned officers are with the passenger, they are all taken by an AERIS bus to the indicated holdrooms.
  • • AERIS staff and all involved persons follow the protocol, observing the health protection and safety parameters set by the Health Ministry.
  • • The holdroom evaluation is conducted by Health Ministry and Costa Rican Red Cross officers accompanied by AERIS Operations staff.

As a responsible manager committed to containment of the virus, AERIS has provided materials in Spanish, English and Chinese (Mandarin), as well as voiceovers (audios) throughout the air terminal in Arrivals as well as Departures, urging passengers of the importance of handwashing and other precautions.

Passengers and the general public are invited to stay informed at the Ministerio de Salud. website. Specifically, the Juan Santamaría International Airport’s contingency protocol can be found at here.


About AERIS Costa Rica

AERIS HOLDING COSTA RICA, a member of the CCR Group of Brazil, is the Invested Manager providing services to the Juan Santamaría International Airport. It is responsible for the operation, maintenance, refurbishment, construction, financing and promotion of Costa Rica’s primary air terminal.

AERIS draws on the experience of its parent companies: HAS Development Corporation and CCR Group of Brazil, the latter being the majority shareholder with participation in the international airports of Quito (Ecuador), Curaçao and Belo Horizonte (Brazil). The Manager seeks to surpass the standards of its contract (CGI), contributing to the country’s growth through the safe and efficient operation of a leading Latin American airport.

In 2019, SJO connected Costa Rica to 38 destinations around the world. Four domestic airlines and 28 international commercial airlines operated in its facilities, with more than 5.4 million in passenger traffic.

For more information, contact 2437-2400


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