Honduras Congress Seeks Commercial Traffic At US Airfield
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP)--Honduras' Congress has approved a measure asking President Ricardo Maduro to open a U.S. military airfield outside the country's capital to commercial traffic while the country's airport remains closed due to smoke from widespread forest fires.
Congress' 128 members from five parties approved the measure unanimously Tuesday night, but neither the president nor representatives of the U.S. Embassy have commented on the request.
The U.S. constructed the Enrique Soto Cano base, known popularly as the Palmerola, in 1983. It houses 450 U.S. soldiers.
The base possesses the best airstrip in Honduras, measuring about 2,700 meters long and 50 meters wide. It is capable of receiving the largest airplane built by the U.S., the C-5A
The government has closed Honduras' principal airport, the Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa, off and on for three weeks due to low visibility caused by widespread forest fires.
In addition to affecting flights, the fires have provoked an increase in bronchial illnesses among the population, while raising temperatures as high as 41 degrees Celsius.