Bolivia to upgrade two regional airports

IDB approves $73.5 million in loans to expand and modernize the airports of Trinidad and Cobija

Bolivia will receive a $73.5 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to upgrade the infrastructure and equipment at two regional airports, Trinidad in the Beni department and Cobija in the Pando department, enabling them to offer international service.

Bolivia’s air travel market is small in comparison with neighboring countries, with 2.9 million passengers per year. However, passenger traffic grew 8.3 percent annually between 2007 and 2011, exceeding the regional average.

Projected air traffic growth for the Cobija and Trinidad airports far exceeds their current capacity. Infrastructure updates at Cobija will include a new passenger terminal of approximately 5,000 square meters, the construction of a new control tower, runway extension from 2,000 to 2,600 meters and an expansion of the aircraft apron.

At Trinidad, investments include extending the runway from 2,400 meters to 2,600 meters, building safety areas at the end of the runway, adjusting the runway edges, paving the parallel taxiway along a length of approximately 1,570 meters, expanding the aircraft apron by 8,000 square meters, replacing all traffic signaling in the movement area, providing a new approach signaling system and building a new passenger terminal of approximately 5,000 square meters.

The project also will support a capacity development program and pre-investment studies. The goal is to help Bolivia acquire the management tools needed to address maintenance requirements as well as to ensure an optimal operation of airport infrastructure and the sustainability of its investments.

The IDB financing consists of $58.8 million for a 30-year term, with a 6-year grace period and a fixed interest rate, plus $14.7 million for a 40-year term, with a 40-year grace period on capital repayments and a 0.25 percent annual interest rate.