Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL IATA) is the primary method of entry into Chile, located in Chile's capital and largest city of Santiago. As of 2020, it was the third busiest airport in South America.
The airport is one of the most busiest in South America inaugurated on February 9, 1967. The airport gets its name from Arturo Merino Benítez, the founder of the Chilean Air Club and creator of the Santiago-Arica Aeropostal Line.
The airport is public, and operates under the concession system.
The airport has 35 boarding bridges, 26 remote and cargo parking lots and two runways (17L/35R and 17R/35L) capable of receiving even the modern Airbus A380 aircraft, as well as Antonov 225 cargo operations.
It is among the most modern and efficient in the Americas, becoming an important hub for flight connections between South America, the Caribbean, Oceania, North America, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and many airlines operate here. It is the hub or main connection center for LATAM, Sky Airline, One Airlines, Aerocardal and JetSmart.
Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is also the only airport in Latin America with flights to Oceania and the South Pacific.
Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport has two terminals.
|Terminal 1 |
The airport's domestic terminal
|Terminal 2 |
the airport's international terminal
- From Europe, British Airways operates from London (14 hours), Air France operates from Paris (14 hours), Iberia from Madrid (13 hours), KLM from Amsterdam, LATAM from Frankfurt with a stop in Madrid (18 hours), LEVEL from Barcelona. Air France uses Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, Iberia Airbus A350 aircraft, and both LATAM and British Airways use Boeing 787 aircrafts.
- From Latin America, LATAM has the most extensive network to Santiago, with flights from Antofagasta, Arica, Asuncion, Bogotá, Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Calama, Castro, Concepción, Copiapó, Córdoba, Coyhaique, Cusco, Easter Island, Guayaquil, Iquique, La Paz, La Serena, Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Mendoza, Montevideo, New York–JFK, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão, Santa Cruz de la Sierra–Viru Viru, São Paulo–Guarulhos, Stanley–Mount Pleasant, Tel Aviv, Temuco, Valdivia. Copa Airlines operates three daily non-stop flights from Panama City. Other Latin American airlines include Aeroméxico which operates from Mexico City, Aerolineas Argentinas operates from Buenos Aires, Estelar Latinoamerica operates from Caracas, GOL, operates from Sao Paulo-Guarulhos.
- From Middle East, Emirates operates from Dubai via Buenos Aires and LATAM operates to Tel Aviv via Sao Paulo.
- From North America, American Airlines operates from Dallas and Miami, Delta Air Lines operates from Atlanta, and United Airlines from Houston. LATAM operate flights from Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Air Canada operates a flight from Toronto six days per week. Many of these flights are overnight, and most use widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 767.
- From Oceania, Qantas operates a direct flight from Sydney four times a week. LATAM also operates one daily flight from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland. It's at least 12 hours each way. LATAM also operates a Tahiti-Easter Island-Santiago route.
- Other than LATAM, the flag carrier of Chile and Brazil, domestic flights are offered by JetSmart and Sky Airline which fly from Latin American hubs and cities and smaller Chilean cities such as Concepcion.
Travelers from Asia and Africa will have to transfer at least once. Santiago being antipodal to central China, you're in for an extremely long trip from most parts of Asia; depending on where you're starting the shortest route may be via the North American west coast, Oceania, Europe or a combination of the Middle East and Brazil. Some East Asian airlines fly to São Paulo, but these flights include a stop — often in the United States. From most of Africa, the shortest route would be flying to São Paulo and transferring there.
Being one of the longest countries in the world, flying is by far the fastest way for getting in from elsewhere in Chile. You'll in most cases have two airlines to pick from: LATAM, and the semi-low-cost Sky Airline with a slightly smaller network.
Ground transportation edit
By public transport edit
There is no public transportation from Santiago airport. There are however airport buses running on two slightly different routes to the city center: CentroPuerto (1,900 pesos one-way, 3,400 pesos return) runs every 10 min, and TurBus (1,900 pesos one-way, 3,400 pesos return) every 30 min. CentroPuerto's buses are blue and single level; Turbus's buses are double-decker. Both buses can be caught by walking outside the terminal at exit 5. Both buses have booths after immigration that will accept credit cards, otherwise tickets can be purchased on the bus in cash. They can get very crowded and will allow people to stand in the aisle. Both buses stop at the Pajaritos Metro station en route. Due to the heavy traffic east of Pajaritos it is a good idea to get off here and take the Metro line 1 towards Los Dominicos to the city center (15-20 min).
Transvip runs a shared-ride shuttle service and have a counter immediately after customs, before you exit into the main terminal. A ride to the city center (as of March 2016) runs 7,000 pesos. Beware of people posing as Transvip staff (even with official looking lanyards) who insist you have only paid for a “reservation”. They will attempt to scam you by taking you to an ATM, withdrawing money and then charging 200,000 pesos for a private shuttle ride.
By taxi edit
Private taxis will charge about 21,000 pesos for a trip to downtown or Providencia. Unofficial taxis may take advantage of unknowing foreigners and charge as much as 200,000 pesos for a trip to downtown or Providencia. It is easy to identify unofficial taxis, most drivers will not have any type of identification and will insist on taking you to the ATMs around the airport where they will convince you to take out the highest allowed amount (200,000 pesos). Common sense and sticking to official taxis will get you to the city with no problem.
By car edit
In November 2006 the SCL Aeropuerto de Santiago concessionaire inaugurated new car parks equipped with 2 lift towers in the east and west sectors that allow the third level of the national and international terminals to be connected to these. On the other hand, the construction of new prepaid booths, new and more entrances and exits, covered parking lots and new equipment for quicker and quicker attention are already fully operational.
As of May 2022, the Nuevo Pudahuel dealer is expanding the car parks, from the current 3,700 parking spaces to 5,800, including two buildings with three floors each.
Get around edit
Airline lounges edit
In the international terminal, the lounges include:
- LATAM Airlines Lounge, on floors 4 and 5. Access after passport control. Access for LATAM's Premium Business Class travelers, LATAM Pass or LATAM Fidelidade Platinum, Black and Black Signature for frequent travelers.
- American Airlines Admirals Club - next to gate 19. OR Access for Admirals Club members, AAdvantage Platinum and Executive Platinum elite frequent flyers, AA International Premium Class, Oneworld First and Business Class passengers, as well as Oneworld tier members Sapphire and Emerald.
- Delta Air Lines Sky Club – next to gate 17. Access for Delta Sky club members, Delta passengers traveling in the Delta One cabin or in SkyTeam Premium alliance cabin and SkyTeam Elite card level members plus.
- Avianca Sala VIP – at gate 12B (one floor below the departures level). Access for Avianca International Business Class passengers, Lifemiles Elite members (Silver, Gold and Diamond levels), as well as Star Alliance Silver and Gold level frequent flyers.
- Pacific Club (Priority Pass).