El Calafate is the gateway town to the Glaciers National Park. It did not have its own airport for many years, reason for which it was necessary to fly into Rio Gallegos first and then combine via land.
This airport, named “Comandante Tola” is equipped with all the modern facilities and security equipment such as those found in international airports. The track is 2550 meters long, allowing big planes to land normally.
Before, there was only a small, “third category” airport at El Calafate, which only permitted small planes to operate. It was used in very few occasions for certain domestic flights, but none of them belonged to commercial/regular ones.
According to Santa Cruz Province’s Tourist authorities, “with the airport the tourist villa (El Calafate) became the center of tourist distribution for the Southern Andes area. It enables seamless connection with nearby spots, like El Chaltén (National Capital of Trekking and gateway to Mount Fitz Roy) and allows visitors to make the most of their stay, saving them many hours until now wasted in bus transfers”.
Besides being able to spend more days at the place, tourists can now arrive anytime during the year, since the airport is operative all year long.
The building’s characteristics are similar to the ones found at the Ushuaia airport; a design based in stone and aluminum, suitable for the windy or “strict” weather conditions that characterize the area sometimes. enhancements.
An amazing increase in the tourist influx has been verified. Consequently, a total revamp of the villa has taken place. Local business owners heavily invested in the construction of hotels and inns, the modernization of shops and enhancement of the offered services. And the government has already paved nearby routes, roads and accesses. Since the new airport came into operations at the beginning of the century, constant development is taking place at El Calafate and its famous star, the Perito Moreno Glacier.