Starting Friday, low cost commercial flights will begin flying out of a new commercial airport in the suburban neighborhood of El Palomar, in the Greater Buenos Aires district (aka partido) of Morón.
Until now, the small airport had been used for military purposes, but starting this Friday, low-cost Flybondi flights will begin operating in it as its first flight coming from Córdoba is scheduled to arrive there two days from now.
CONTROVERSY IN EL PALOMAR
Some residents from El Palomar believe that the airport will provide economic benefits for the neighborhood, but others worry that it will cause property value in the area to go down and present a risk to the schools. On Thursday, residents of Cuidad Jardín, a residential community in the area, marched in protest of the airport.
Palomar resident Mariana Borkus pointed out that there could actually be economic damage for the neighbors. “This is a quiet area. But with the airport, our properties could lose value due to the noise,” she said.
The opinions are not one-sided, though. Nicolas Crognale, another neighbor, told Clarín that he travels to the interior of Argentina every month for work, and as a result, he’s excited about the new airport.
He also added that the airport will diversify the economy. “It’s true that the noise could be annoying,” Crognale said. “But you also have to think that Avenida del Libertador is only a few blocks from the airport and no one is complaining about that.”
Agreeing with this, glasses store owner Alberto Gallo added that while he believes that the main problem will be pollution, he also thinks that the airport will be good for business. Carlos Alvarado, a local deli owner, added to this by saying that all other concerns aside, the airport’s main problem will be the increase of traffic. “It’s already chaotic when the kids go to school,” Alvarado said. “When they open the airport, I think it will be much worse. However, I do think this will benefit the economy.”
THE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
A few weeks ago, some neighbors filed an appeal against the changes at the airport. Judge Martina Forns of the second Federal Court in Civil and Commercial Law and Litigation of San Martín accepted the appeal and asked the company Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, the Transportation Ministry, and the National Administration of Civil Aviation (ANAC) to take a series of measures, including studies about the environmental impact and the removal of explosive deposits that the Air Force had in the complex.
The residents who filed the appeal before Judge Forns were compelled to do so for several reasons. “There’s 1,000 students in a school that’s only 500 meters from the airstrip,” said Andrea Macchi, a member of the neighborhood group that filed the suit. “We are very worried about the noise and the risk of a tragedy like the one at LAPA,” she added, referring to the tragic plane crash in 1999 at the Aeroparque airport that left 65 people dead.
Another neighbor, Julián Tulino, suggested that the airport in Campo de Mayo could be a better option that would generate fewer problems. “It’s easier to access and there’s almost no population there,” Tulino said. “This airport is five blocks from my house. When they were testing the Hércules plane, the noise was so loud.”
Last Friday, after the airport operator and the government had finally presented the proper documentation, the judge authorized the airport’s operation. However, on Monday, environmental lawyer Claudia Sambro Merlo filed another appeal to stop the process. She denounced the governments actions to authorize El Palomar for commercial flights as “illegitimate and arbitrary.”
El Palomar is the first airport for low cost airlines in Argentina. Located 18 kilometers to the west of the city of Buenos Aires, it’s authorized for both commercial and military use. The airport will include several changes to minimize operation costs, for example, there won’t be any jet bridges or towing services for aircrafts.
In addition to this, while it’s the third airport in the greater Buenos Aires area, it is the first and only one to be connected to the train, as it’s 300 meters from the Palomar station on the San Martín line – an obvious benefit, especially if one thinks of Ezeiza Airport and its distance from downtown.
Friday and the first flight are just around the corner, so there’s sure to be news about how this process continues to develop – and make waves. Let’s see what everyone has to say once the first plane has landed.