TACAA320
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Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:13 am

Based on a previous thread, I'm just wondering why TGU is the only Central American Capital with no direct [non stop] service to MEX?

The only chances are ussing TA or CM with at least two stops over [MGA and SJO].

We must add a very long flight 9 to 11 hours.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
Checo77
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Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGUSend An In

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:35 am

I guess it is because there is no demand between TGU-MEX. Otherwise, airlines (AM, MX, TA) would start non-stop flights.
Another reason (maybe) is because Tincontin is a very difficult airport to land (I heard only pilots with a special, extra qualification can fly to TGU). Also, I guess that from San Pedro Sula, there is a non-stop to MEX (if I´m wrong, please correct me) so people from TGU can drive to San Pedro Sula and then fly to MEX- it is more time-saving than flying 11 hours.
Regards,
Adam
Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
 
Checo77
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Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGUSend An In

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:42 am

To what I previously said:
I couldn´t find any non-stop between SAP and MEX. So sorry about the non sense I said above.
Also, I found that people travelling TGU-MEX can connect in SAL or MIA, making it a 5 or 6 hours flight including connections (all done by TA or AA).
Regards, and sorry for the wrong thing I said
Adam
Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
 
Chiguire
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:53 am

TGU-MEX might be a possible route for Aerohonduras. I mean, if they manage one day to start their DC9 operations...
 
HR001
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:06 am

Demand could support 3 times a week service maybe, the problem in Honduras is that traffic is split up between Sap and Tgu. both cannot support direct service together yes, but is is more cost efficient for the Airlines to send the traffic thru their hubs rather than a flight which would need to make two stops to make the flight profitable. And the limitations of The TGU aiport for example makes the flight longer to TACA passengers because no way to connect to TGU in the evening.
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:24 pm

Basically one of the problems are, the infrastructure of Toncontin, and supremacy of San Pedro de Sula.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
Checo77
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 1:06 pm

Infrastructure in TGU is very bad, a friend who went to Honduras 2 years ago said that the airlport was awful and very small being the principal airport of a capital city.
I hope Hondurans will invest in remodeling Toncontin or making a new airport.
Regards,
Adam
Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:14 pm

"I guess it is because there is no demand between TGU-MEX"

Hi Checo,

MEX is the third most demanded destination of Hondurans. Only MSY and MIA, has more demand. Unbelievable, but if you want to go from TGU to MEX, you can expect a very long trip.

I don't see the possibility of a new airport "inside the city" like Toncontin is. It must be like the concept of SAL. They took away commercial flights from the old Ilopango inside the city, and built a huge terminal close to coast, about 45 minutes from downtown.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
JOSEMEX
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:45 pm

Honduran carrier TAN used to fly between MEX and Honduras in the 70's, although I don't remember if the flights were to TGU or SAP or if they made a stop someplace. Does anyone know?

What I do remember is that, incredibly, TAN's flight was the only scheduled 737 into MEX for many years. Not until CO received their first 733's and started flying them into MEX, followed by other US carriers, did the 737 start to become quite common sight there (or here Smile?).
 
britmex
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:42 pm

YES IT IS TRUE!!!!!

Seeing that 737 was a huge event for me as little boy. It was just like seeing a shrunk 707! At that time I thought 737`s were quite rare...
WELL....I didn`t know!!!

britmex

ps ...and also thought that the Caravelle was an older version of the DC-9!
Aeromexico, la linea aerea que va para arriba
 
EddieDude
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:00 am

AM had plans to start flights to SAP from MEX, MID and CUN but they never materialized. I guess flying TA via SAL is the best option available at the moment.

On the other hand, MEX might be the third most important destination for Hondurans, but I don't think there is a lot of demand to Honduras from Mexico.
Next flights: MEX-LAX AM 738, LAX-PVG DL 77L, SHA-PEK CA 789, PEK-PVG CA A332, PVG-ORD MU 77W, ORD-MEX AM 738
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:57 am

Edddiedude;

I agree with you that maybe there is not a lot of demand to Honduras from Mexico, but the problem is not SAP is TGU.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
HR001
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:09 am

The AM plans were scrapped by the same problem, neither TGU or SAP can sustain a flight by themselves. Only combined. From SAP TACA is the "only" option unless you want to travel thru IAH or MIA on CO or AA. From TGU you can go either on TACA or COPA. going to MEX TACA offers a better choice but on the way back COPA offers a faster connection.

Josemex: TAN's 737 flew MIA-TGU-SAP-MEX-TGU-SAP-MIA Three times a week.


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SFOMEX
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:12 am

Well, if MEX is flying daily to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador; I don't see why they couldn't do the same flying to Honduras, stopping both at TGU and SAP. Is the Ecuadorian (sp) market bigger that the Hondurian?
The only thing worst than the GOP is the Democratic Party, think about it!
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:17 pm

Is Aerohonduras supposed to fly in a near future non stop to MEX?
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
baw716
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:25 pm

Only one person has considered the one right reason why a nonstop from MEX-TGU could not operate. The airport.

The entire problem at TGU is the runway. Not only is it short, but it is in a state of relative disrepair. Only an aircraft that is light can land there safely. Even more important is the weight restriction required taking off. No aircraft can depart TGU for more than a 30-40 min flight plus reserves with full payload and get off the runway. Even then, its a break release flap 20 take off with wheels up just 100 feet short of the end of the runway before you fall off the cliff.

TAN never operated TGU-MEX nonstop, they flew it via SAP. TACA flew it via (and still does via SAL). However, the connecting time at SAL is quite long, which is why it is a 9 or 10 hour ordeal to get to MEX. There is also no jet service between TGU and MGA now, so unless you want to fly a very small prop over the mountains between TGU and MGA, you have to go to SAL and connect.

These days, with the dominance of TACA and COPA, most long haul traffic bound for North and South America connects out of Central America via SAL or PTY. The notable exceptions are the flights to MIA, in which all Central American countries have one to five flights per day direct.

I remember my last flight into Tegucigalpa. I swore it would be my last. I flew out on TACA from Miami, which at that time has a flight operating MIA-BZE-SAP-TGU-SAL. I was getting off in TGU. Flight normal leaving Miami. The landing in Belize was only something Central American machismo could pull off. We entered the cloud layer at 10000ft into heavy turbulence. The rain was coming down so hard you could not see the end of the wing. For 15 minutes we flew through this muck and made a turn to final at 1000 feet when we made sighted the ground. Another forward push of the engines and we were down. It was raining buckets.

After a 20 minute ground stop, we were off again in the pouring rain, this time for San Pedro. Steep climb out and turn and 10 minutes we were out of the weather and into beautiful sunshine of the midday. The San Pedro part of the flight was normal: Easy landing, drop and pickup passengers. Then off for Tegucigalpa.

This is where things got interesting. SAP to TGU takes all of about 15 minutes in the air. However, once you get to TGU, you fly one or two circuits of the airport to visually inspect conditions. Security there is not the best and you do get the occasional goat, chicken or yes, even a cow, that strays onto the runway. Plus, we were a little heavy with fuel, so we had to burn it off (can't dump over TGU). Once we were ready, we were told to strap in tight as we were going to feel a lot of breaking and reverse thrust. The only problem was, the pilot landed long. He realized his mistake immediately and powered up and lifted off slowly. Finally, he got back up to a safe altitude and went around for another try.

This next try was it before we had to divert, because we did not have enough fuel for another attempt. This time, he shot the approach very low. We touched down before the runway numbers and shoved the breaks and the reverse thrusters. He used every inch of that runway to stop. We made a 180 u-turn on the runway, taxied into the gate and we staggered off the plane.

That airport is an accident waiting to happen and I think the airlines that operate there are reducing their liability by not flying there. Don't blame them.
I won't go there again. I suspect a lot of others won't either, which is why a commercial venture right
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
ghost77
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:36 pm

Well, if MEX is flying daily to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador; I don't see why they couldn't do the same flying to Honduras, stopping both at TGU and SAP. Is the Ecuadorian (sp) market bigger that the Hondurian?

Honduras population: 6,823,568. (July 2004 est.)
GDP: $17.55 billion (2004 est.)

Ecuador population: 13,212,742 (July 2004 est.)
GDP: $45.65 billion (2004 est.)

Source: www.cia.gov

Definitely Ecuador has much more to offer than Honduras!

Ricardo APM

Ricardo Morales - flyAPM - ¡No es que maneje rapido, solo estoy volando lento!
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:45 pm

"There is also no jet service between TGU and MGA now, so unless you want to fly a very small prop over the mountains between TGU and MGA, you have to go to SAL and connect."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not non-stop, but CM offers a 73G service on a daily basis. The problem: more than 6 hours to get from one point to another.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
whiskeyhotel
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:47 pm

Checo, driving between Tegu and SPS is not really an option for most travellers. I spent a summer living in Comayagua, which is about a third of the way from Tegu to SPS. I went on an excursion to Copan with some friends one weekend, and the drive from Comayagua to SPS alone took about 4.5 hours. The terrain between Tegu and SPS is very rugged and honduran drivers are an absolute nightmare. Never in my life have I seen three buses all trying to pass each other on winding mountain roads. Absolute madness. I had some interesting flying experiences in Honduras as well, aside from the spectacular landing at TGU. Took my first ATR flight with Taca from TGU to La Ceiba, then switched over to a Czech made aircraft with Islena airlines (don't remember the type) for a flight from there to Guanaja, with a stop in Roatan (Where the prop hit a fairly large bird on landing, splattering my window with blood). The flight back from Guanaja to La Ceiba was in a single-engine Cessna (was about an eight-seater as I recall). Landing in TGU is indeed spectacular, but a takeoff from La Ceiba is a marvel as well...very steep climbout over the coastal mountain range
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:55 pm


Some very interesting observations made here. Let me add some points as well.

First of all, for going from TGU to MEX (or about anywhere), it´s not that bad. You have the TA214 early morning hop to SAL, 0700-0745 which connects to TA´s main departure bank. Hence, you´ll be in MEX at about 1200 after 5 hours travel time.

The return is a bit more complicated, but still bearable too: you´ll route through GUA and SAP, leaving at 1500, arriving at 2050, i.e. just shy of six hours.

So, O/D Honduras-MEX and vice versa is not really a problem. However, the lack of a direct flight harms MEX´s potential as a intercontinental hub. Many Hondurans have to avoid MIA for connexions nowadays, due to the US´ restrictive visa policy. However, doing Honduras-Europe via MEX results in an eight hour layover eastbound. And if you´re not on the IB flight which arrives at MEX in the early morning, you need to stay overnight.
I see a potential there, since I´ve personally seen Hondurans go to great lengths to avoid the US. For example, on the TA214 TGU-SAL I sat next to a lady who had to go to GVA on short notice. Her routing was TGU-SAL-SJO-CCS-MXP-GVA. Poor thing...



>>>From TGU you can go either on TACA or COPA. going to MEX TACA offers
a better choice but on the way back COPA offers a faster connection.

How´s that? Because of the short layover (1035-1100) at PTY, no reservation system will find a MEX-TGU connexion on CM. Or can an agent manually override this?

>>>Is Aerohonduras supposed to fly in a near future non stop to MEX?

I´ve never seen any mention of this, just GUA, MGA, PTY and SJO. All ex SAP, fed from TGU via the old TGU-SAP-MIA 737 flight - with some very inconvenient connexion times.


>>>The entire problem at TGU is the runway. Not only is it short, but it is in a state of relative disrepair.

Hey, 6334 ft/ 1930 m is not that short  Laugh out loud Seriously, though, it doesn´t seem to be in such a bad state.


>>>No aircraft can depart TGU for more than a 30-40 min flight plus reserves with full payload and get off the runway.

So how come TA 320s and AA 757s make it nonstop to MIA? These flights are reasonably booked.


>>>However, the connecting time at SAL is quite long, which is why it is a 9 or 10 hour ordeal to get to MEX.

Nope, see above.


>>>There is also no jet service between TGU and MGA now, so unless you want to fly a very small prop over the mountains between TGU and MGA, you have to go to SAL and connect.

... for a very convenient 2.30 hours total travel time.


>>>However, once you get to TGU, you fly one or two circuits of the airport to visually inspect conditions. Security there is not the best and you do get the occasional goat, chicken or yes, even a cow, that strays onto the runway.

Don´t know, this might have been the case 20 years ago, but nowadays you won´t find a goat, chicken or cow anywhere near the airport, let alone on the runway.
Also, the "circuits to visually inspect conditions" just the normal approach paths. You come from the North, fly parallel to the runway, do two 90 degree turns and land on runway 01. That´s owed to the mountains, not animals...


>>>That airport is an accident waiting to happen

No it´s not. The last passenger airliner to crash at TGU was in 1989.


>>>people from TGU can drive to San Pedro Sula

>>>Checo, driving between Tegu and SPS is not really an option for most travellers.

Yes and no. It certainly is a pain, but people do it on a regular basis. The multiple Hedman luxury bus departures are well booked.


>>>The terrain between Tegu and SPS is very rugged and honduran drivers are an absolute nightmare. Never in my life have I seen three buses all trying to pass each other on winding mountain roads. Absolute madness.

Been there, done that. And the next day, you´ll get the pics of all the accident victims in gory graphic details on TVC and the newspapers. Terrible.


>>>I spent a summer living in Comayagua, which is about a third of the way from Tegu to SPS.

Oh, poor chap. I spent an afternoon there. After maybe half an hour my pals and me were like "so, we heading back or what?"


>>> I had some interesting flying experiences in Honduras as well, aside from the spectacular landing at TGU. Took my first ATR flight with Taca from TGU to La Ceiba, then switched over to a Czech made aircraft with Islena airlines (don't remember the type) for a flight from there to Guanaja,

That would have been the Let 410 Turbolet. Islena don´t operate that type any more, they just have ATR42, Shorts 360, Cessna 208.


>>>The flight back from Guanaja to La Ceiba was in a single-engine Cessna (was about an eight-seater as I recall).

Yup, the 208 Grand Caravan.


>>> a takeoff from La Ceiba is a marvel as well...very steep climbout over the coastal mountain range

Agree, just great, the mountain range with Pico Bonito et al on one side, the Atlantic on the other one. Very scenic.


Daniel Smile
 
latinaviation
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:59 pm

The entire problem at TGU is the runway. Not only is it short, but it is in a state of relative disrepair. Only an aircraft that is light can land there safely. Even more important is the weight restriction required taking off. No aircraft can depart TGU for more than a 30-40 min flight plus reserves with full payload and get off the runway.

I wouldn't consider an AA 757 exactly light and have never been on a weight restricted flight on AA out of TGU on the 757. On the 727-100, yes. CM takes weight restrictions almost regularly for the short hop to SJO. CO had some issues with the 733 but the 737-700 seemed to ease those problems.

The runway condition itself is fine, if a little bumpy, but certainly CO and AA would not be flying into an airport with a runway that is in a state of disrepair. There are no landing lights, to be certain, but they don't operate the airport after dusk. I wouldn't call it a modern airport by any means, but I would exactly right it off, either.

I think the reason there is no direct non-stop is not solely because of the airport. MX or AM could operate MEX-TGU-SAP-MEX just fine. I think there are a host of reasons, not the least is that there is probably a small market, overall, that is being served via CM and TA right now. Honduras also has the highest aviation fuel costs in Central America, it's not a cheap operation by any means.

It's not like there haven't been some attempts, either. Back in '99/'00 Aerocaribe operated CUN-SAP with a J-31. Not a non-stop to MEX, but you could make a quick cnx to MEX on AM/MX from CUN. That route got axed six months after it started.

Perhaps AeroHonduras will start something, or at least provide a better connection via Aeropostal de Centro America in SJO. Alternatively, Atlantic is looking to expand in the region with their 732s and they've recently operated a charter to CUN... so perhaps MEX isn't far behind? Just a thought.
 
HR001
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:03 am

baw716: CO flies TGU-IAH nonstop year round only on some very hot days in the summer it stops at SAP for fuel, 2 hrs 45 min flight, AA flies to MIA nonstop also, and TACA flies nonstop to MIA 3 times a week. MEX- TGU is shorter . A 737-700 or A A-319 wouldn´t have too many restrictions to fly TGU-MEX nonstop. The demand is simply not there neither from SAP or TGU. COPA operated SAP-MEX for several years but it was cut. Another problem has been FARES when only TACA was on the Market a ticket was around $600 so not too many Hondurans wanted to go visit Mexico and viceversa With COPA now on the TGU market fares are around 350-400. Still high but 25% lower.

The Airport surely is a limitation, but if the demand was there the flights would be.

Whiskey hotel: TGU to SAP by land is 3.5 to 4.00 hours Comayagua SAP is 2.5 to 3 not 4.5.
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:14 am

Why is the operation restriction of TGU after 18:00?

Last time I was there, about six months ago, we MUST be out of there not later than that time, for some kind of restriction(s).


By the way, I barely remember that the runway has no lights. Can any one confirm this?
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
TACAA320
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:31 am


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I know that is hard to see through some pics, if Toncontin´s runway has or not lights, but here you have some that apparently support my thesis.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
HR001
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:50 am

No lights?? How does TACA 702 operate every night? leaves for GUA at 21:10.

The DHL ATR-42 plus two other cargo let 410's leave around 19:00.


The airport is restricted to passenger jet aircraft after dusk, props can operate at night. Several landing aid lights in towers are being installed in the mountains close to runway 01 to enhance safety in night landings.
(a donation by the japanese government by the way)The terminal expansion is FINALLY going ahead rapidly.

Latin aviation: perhaps TGU-MEX can be a route for CM EMB-190's in the future??
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:54 am

TGU does have runway lights, and taxiway lights, and everything you could ask for as far as lighting goes, considering the surrounding terrain of course.

There is a 'rabbit' type approach light system which, at night, directs you visually from the left downwind of runway 01 to final, shaped as a large semi-circle (no room for a real base leg there, lots of hard mountains...).

Real fun airport to fly to, requires some extra training and more restricitive procedures as far as jet operations, but not really a danger. And certainly no cows on the runway!

Now maybe an occasional dog...
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
latinaviation
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:31 am

The airport is restricted to passenger jet aircraft after dusk, props can operate at night. Several landing aid lights in towers are being installed in the mountains close to runway 01 to enhance safety in night landings.

Sorry, my error. I was under the impression this was the case b/c of the jet aircraft restriction. I have never been to TGU at night to know about the props.

I doubt, however, you'll see CM operate TGU-MEX non-stop, but I'll ask my cousin when I'm down there for x-mas.
 
baw716
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RE: Why Not Non-stop Service Between MEX/TGU

Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:51 am

I stand corrected on the TGU MIA and TGU IAH nonstops. I remember now that AA operates a 757 into TGU. Of course, you can launch a 757 with a full payload off a parking lot. Landing its a little more tricky but doable.

A couple of corrections for the folks who were quoting numbers about the airport:
Runway Length: 6132 ft. Usable landing length: 5462 ft
Altitude: 3294 ft (considered high and hot).

The landing procedure (VORDME RWY01) is a circling procedure, coming in high over the airport circling down visually to 9000 ft on course of 198 over rwy centerline turning right 243 at DME 5 with 180 degree left turn at 1 min then turning left 018 to be at 8000 ft DME 7 from TNT VOR (which is directly over midfield). Descent angle is 5.3 degrees, cross DME 5 at 6700 feet, the Missed Approach Point is DME 1 from Airport at 1368 ft AGL, if runway not visual must go missed, climb out course 008 degrees to DME 6.5 on TNT 008 radial then left turn climb to 9000 feet.

Here's the trick: There is high terrain within 1.3 nm of the airport on all sides. This means when you fly the downwind leg, and you turn to make the reverse turn, you have to be at a specific speed for 1 min then make a 1 min 180 degree turn back around (which is pretty tight) to get set up for the final approach. A 5.3 degree approach angle is quite steep and makes it hard to keep your speed down while trying to hit the touchdown zone without overshooting it. At 3200 feet, you have to fly faster than you would at sea level, especially if it is hot, so this particular approach falls into the category of "dangerous". Of course, pilots who fly into TGU train specifically for this airport because of the difficulty of flying in and out of there, so you should not be concerned if you are a passenger on an airliner, especially American, Continental or TACA (TACA trains their pilots in the USA). You might get a little beat up on the landing, especially when they slam on the brakes, but be assured that you will be completely OK.

Here is my point. Twenty years ago when I was young and inexperienced and when there were, yes COWS on the runway, it was a scary place to fly into. While there may be no animals anymore, it still is a bitch to fly into and I just want to caution everyone not to take this place for granted. I do not believe it makes good economic sense for an airline to risk an aircraft flying a full payload between two high and hot airports. This is where I think it doesn't make economic sense. Better to take them to Salvador and connect them out. The TACA operation at Salvador is actually better than most people think and since the guys who run TACA are actually based in Miami, I tend to give them a little more credit for creating an airline that services Central America and ties it to many places in North and South America and actually makes money. At the end of the day, this is why there is no nonstop TGU-MEX...because TACA knows better.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998

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