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Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport


Arturo Merino Benitez (SCL)

Santiago International Airport, also referred to as the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, is located 9.3 miles of downtown Santiago. In 2010 the airport took on over 11 million passengers and is expected to take on much more in 2012. The Santiago Airport is considered the largest and busiest in Chile and the ninth busiest airport in Latin America.

History

Initially the Santiago International Airport was created to meet the growing demands of Santiago's metropolitan area. With the population growing and the need for a better airport apparent, the Santiago International Airport was constructed in 1961. Later the airport was commissioned in 1967 to be called the Aeropuerto Internacional de Pudahuel because of its location in reference to Pudahuel. The airport expanded in 1994 to create a new international terminal that would take on additional passengers for international flights and in 2008 the airport reached its maximum capacity of 9.5 million passengers per year. Unfortunately, this maximum capacity hit two years before expected, which required an expansion that will commence sometime in 2012.

Services and Amenities

Like most airports, the Arturo Merino Benitez Airport offers travellers the convenience of shopping, food, music, Internet, dentist, medical center, cafes, and bistros. The facility also offers coffee shops, popular brand shopping and other amenities that include:

* Wi-Fi at the local cafes
* Over 70 retail shops
* Fast-food, sit-down restaurants, coffee shops and bistros
* Pharmacies
* Laptop charging stations
* Business centers
* ATMs and currency exchange offices
* Travel agencies
* Lost luggage pickups and luggage storage

Parking

Lifts from the airport will take travellers to short and long-term parking facilities. There is a free bus that takes travellers between the different airport parking lots and the express parking is convenient for those who want to book a parking spot ahead of time.

Surrounding Area and Tips

The facilities do have cosmetic and technical issues since the earthquake in 2010. Therefore some facilities are constantly out of order and some custom checkpoints will require longer wait times due to limited office space and staff. Once construction is complete passengers will enjoy shorter wait times, but until then travellers are encouraged to arrive at least two hours prior to departure and expect delays when entering the country.

Once out of the airport, travellers should take advantage of the busses that drive to and from the airport regularly. Travellers are encouraged to get a Multivia pass at a discounted rate if they will be in town longer than a day. Though rental cars are available, traffic is heinous and travelers are encouraged to avoid trying to drive down busy streets and navigate confusing street signs in the area.

Travellers can visit local attractions that include:

* The Andes Mountains
* Plaza de Armas
* Chile's Presidential home
* The coast of Valpo

Contact Information
Airport IATA Code: SCL
Location: 11 miles NW of Santiago, Chile
Telephone: +56 (0)2 690 1900/1752/3

Address:
Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport,
Casilla 79 Correo Aeropuerto Internacional,
Santiago,
Chile
Number of Terminals: 2
Website: www.aeropuertosantiago.cl
Time Zone: GMT - 4 (GMT - 3 from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October)

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