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Quetzaltenango Airport

Los Altos Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Los Altos, IATA: AAZ, ICAO: MGQZ), also known as Quetzaltenango Airport, serves the city of Quetzaltenango, also known as "Xelajú" or "Xela," and western Guatemala. It is operated and administrated by Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil de Guatemala (DGAC).

Los Altos Airport
Aeropuerto Los Altos
Quetzaltenango Airport
Airport type Public
Operator DGAC
Serves Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Elevation AMSL 7,779 ft / 2,371 m
Coordinates 14°51′55″N

Location in Quetzaltenango Department

Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,103 6,900 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 2,937
Source: GCM Google Maps


Los Altos Airport is in a high elevation basin in the Guatemalan highlands, in the northeastern part of the city of Quetzaltenango. There is a mountain ridge 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of the runway, and distant mountainous terrain in all other quadrants.

The Tapachula VOR-DME (Ident: TAP) is located 50.9 nautical miles (94.3 km) west of the airport. The Quetzaltenango non-directional beacon (Ident: XLA) is located on the field.

The airport has undergone construction work as part of a nationwide airport rehabilitation program. Serving Guatemala's second largest city, the airport aims to gain international status, along with La Aurora International Airport and Mundo Maya International Airport. The region hopes to profit economically from this new airport. So far, the closest airport to Quetzaltenango with regular airline connections was 200 km (120 mi) away in Guatemala City. Until 2006, the airfield had only a grass runway. It had no significant terminal building and only a small hangar. Air traffic was limited due to lack of features for safe operation. In September 2006 construction work began, which included:

  • extension, asphalting, signposting, and illuminating of the runway and taxiway
  • construction of a small terminal building and apron for four aircraft
  • construction of a parking area

An emergency operations center has been installed at the airport in order to respond to future disasters like hurricane Stan. The new runway was inaugurated by President Óscar Berger on January 10, 2008.


  • It was discovered that when Óscar Berger inaugurated the runway in January 2008, construction work had not finished. The temporary runway markings were for the official opening ceremony and had to be removed for final coating.
  • The terminal building was revealed to be only a small house, not a terminal building of international standards as anticipated .
  • The tower has not been built, hence safe operations were questionable.

Aviation in Quetzaltenango

  • The first airport was built in 1945 at La Esperanza and was transferred to the present site in 1955. Aviateca had daily flights between Xela and Guatemala City, charging 25 Quetzal those days.
  • In 1992 Miguel Angel Castro Conde father and son constructed a two-seater aircraft in Quetzaltenango, finishing it in 2003 and naming it "Quetzaltenango 1". It is said that it is the first and only ever built airplane in Central America.

Quetzaltenango 1

Quetzaltenango 1 is the name of the first aircraft built in Central America, Miguel Angel Castro Conde is responsible for the airplane with the name Quetzaltenango 1, a plane he built with the help of his son, becoming the first constructor of an aircraft in Guatemala.

On May 12, 2003 After the first flight that lasted 30 minutes, followed by further testing done only to a volunteer who offered to accompany him, now see it is regular with his son and friends who ask you to take them to feel Quetzaltenango the excitement of seeing a plane built in this city.


Airlines Destinations
Aviones Comerciales de Guatemala (Avcom) charter flights
ARM Aviacion S.A. (ARMSA) Guatemala City( bengis september 12)
Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos Guatemala City, Charter flights


In 2016, the airport handled 2,937 passengers.


On 1 November 1998 a Douglas DC-3 (N3FY) carrying 18 crew and passengers crashed near the airport into mountainous terrain. Bad weather during approach is the probable cause. There were 11 fatalities.

On 13 October 1999 a private Bell 206 helicopter (TG-AMA) crashed near Quetzaltenango. Both occupants were killed.

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