Antofagasta Airport is a small and somewhat dated airport. It feels third world in its design and layout. Facilities are limited and since it is only a domestic airport it may rarely be experienced by an international traveller.
Inside Antofagasta Airport
Located on the outskirts of town I had to pass through Antofagasta Airport (ANF is the Antofagasta airport code) to get to Santiago and a flight home from Chile. The place feels and looks small, almost a throwback from the 1950s and 1960s.
If truth be told the Chilean town of Antofagasta is booming. It has benefited from the commodity boom; there is even a mining company listed on the UK Stock Exchange which is named after the town!
I’ve been told that the population of Antofagasta has grown from around 180,000 just over 8 years ago to 500,000 people today. That is phenomenal growth and sadly the airport is struggling to cope. A lot of workers fly in for a few weeks at a time then home again. I arrived in the airport late one Saturday night and the place was heaving with people.
When I did depart it was a weekend morning and thankfully not so busy.
The checking-in area of Antofagasta Airport is far from a hive of activity. There are only 2 check-in desks which serve the two local airlines offering domestic flights. I suppose the airport in Antofagasta has moved with the times somewhat since there were some of those computerised self check-in units. As great as the concept is they could not find my booking by either passport number, e-ticket number or my frequent flyer card. Not a great start.
Thankfully the check-in desk attendant was able to help and my luggage was checked in for my flight with LAN (Chilean domestic carrier).
Within the checking-in area of Antofagasta Airport I could see a small, basic café, 2 tourist shops plus a sunglasses booth.
Airport security was surprisingly quick and efficient. I could imagine it being havoc when the airport is busy.
After being security checked I ascended some stairs to the waiting area. There were only 3 boarding gates so that gives you an idea of how small this airport is. To be honest by the time we were called for boarding the place was pretty full, you’d struggle to find a seat.
To pass the time there was a basic café and a souvenir shop. The souvenir shop was minimal and acted also as a provider of magazines etc. There was a good chance to pick up a toy lama so it maybe worth a visit.
I also noticed a glassed off area in this boarding gate waiting area. It was labelled as Salones VIP Lounge and also Pacific Lounge. I guess this was the Business Class Lounge at Antofagasta Airport. I didn’t have access to it but looking through the glass windows it looked far from luxurious.
Well I suppose there is not much more to say about Antofagasta Airport. It is small, dated and really needs investment to cope with the amount of traffic passing through it. As the city grows you’d hope the local government will seek to reinforce their transport infrastructure.