Arturo Merino Benitez Intl. Airport Guide - SCEL

Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport - Guide

By @nicopizarro

Last updated: April 2021

Welcome to the Chilean biggest airport guide! On this post, you will find information about procedures, terminals, airlines in operation and more. It will be updated when needed. If you have questions, feel free to send me a PM.

SCEL is the primary international airport for Chile. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, Arturo Merino Benitez is equipped with two operative runways which are used for departures and arrivals. Before planning a flight in or out from SCEL, you must take in consideration two main factors: it’s located on a valley with the Andes Mountains on one side and the Oceanic Cordillera to the West; this might be a challenging airport at low visibility operations. Second, weather it’s extremely variate depending on the season; which is one of a Chilean remarkable characteristics.

Santiago Intl. is able to receive from small General Aviation aircrafts, to the tremendous Antonov 225.

Runways Heading Size (ft) Surface Elevation ILS Equipped
17L 175º 12314 x 180 Asphalt 1,555 ft Yes
17R 175º 12479 x 147 Asphalt 1,555 ft Yes
35R 355º 12314 x 180 Asphalt 1,555 ft No
35L 355º 12479 x 147 Asphalt 1,555 ft No
Runway 17R - NOTAM

On current charts, you may see runway 17R identified as runway 19. This is due to the current work in progress of the change of runway size, which will be shorter to save on operational resources. Therefore, runway 17R will only be used for narrow body aircraft. For Infinite Flight purposes, this doesn’t apply (yet).

For some airlines, Santiago is one of their longest flight on their destinations. There’s no doubt that Santiago geographical position doesn’t help to build up much traffic. These are the airlines that operate on SCEL along with their corresponding routes (and their commonly used aircrafts). (at least before COVID-19)

International Airlines & Destinations

  • Iberia Airlines (a359 - Madrid)
  • British Airways (B789 - London)
  • LATAM (B789 - Madrid // B789 - Frankfurt)
  • Air France (B777 - Paris)
  • KLM (B789 - Amsterdam)

(*) Non-direct flights.

North America
  • Air Canada (B789 - Toronto)
  • Delta Airlines (B767 - Atlanta)
  • United Airlines (B787 - Houston)
  • American Airlines (B787/B777 - Dallas // Miami // New York)
  • LATAM (B789 - Miami // New York // Los Angeles // Cancun // Mexico City)
  • Aeromexico (B787 - Mexico City)

(*) Non-direct flights.

Asia & Oceania


  • LATAM (B789 - Tel Aviv*)


  • Qantas (B789 - Sydney) [Former B747 route]
  • LATAM (B789 - Sydney // Auckland // Melbourne // Papeete*)

(*) Non-direct flights.

South & Central America

Central America

  • LATAM (a320 - Punta Cana)
  • Copa Airlines (B737 - Tocumen)

South America

  • LATAM (Argentina) (a320 - Buenos Aires // Córdoba // Mendoza // Rio Gallegos)
  • LATAM (Bolivia) (a320 - La Paz // Viru Viru)
  • LATAM (Brasil) (a320 - Brasilia // Porto Alegre // Rio de Janeiro // Sao Paulo)
  • LATAM (Colombia) (B767 - Bogota)
  • LATAM (Ecuador) (B767 - Guayaquil)
  • LATAM (Perú) (a320 - Lima // Cusco)
  • LATAM (Uruguay & Paraguay) (a320 - Montevideo // Asunción)
  • JetSmart (a320 - Buenos Aires // For do Iguazú // Salvador de Bahía // Bogota // Cali // Medellin // Arequipa // Lima // Trujillo)
  • GOL (B737 - Recife // Sao Paulo)
  • Avianca (B788 - Bogota)
  • Air Canada (B787 - Buenos Aires)
  • KLM (B789/B777 - Buenos Aires)

(*) Non-direct flights.

National Airlines & Cargo Destinations

National Flights
  • LATAM (a320/B787 - Arica // Iquique // Copiapó // Calama // Antofagasta // La Serena // Concepción // Temuco // Valdivia // Osorno // Puerto Montt // Balmaceda // Mocopulli // Punta Arenas // Rapa Nui)
  • JetSmart (a320 - Arica // Iquique // Copiapó // Calama // Antofagasta // La Serena // Concepción // Temuco // Valdivia // Osorno // Puerto Montt // Balmaceda // Mocopulli // Punta Arenas)

(*) Non-direct flights.

  • LATAM Cargo (B77F - Bogota // Amsterdam // Miami // Buenos Aires // Campinas // Lima // Brussels)
  • Avianca Cargo (a33F - Bogota // Sao Paulo)
  • China Cargo (UNK - Shangai* // Los Angeles)
  • Cargolux (B74F - Luxemburg*)
  • KLM Cargo (B77F - Quito // Amsterdam // Campinas // Miami)
  • Emirates Sky Cargo (B77F - Dubai*)
  • Korean Air Cargo (B77F - Seoul // Los Angeles // Lima // Campinas)
  • Lufthansa Cargo (B77F - Frankfurt)
  • UPS (a33F - Campinas // Buenos Aires)
  • Qatar Airways Cargo (B77F - Lima // Doha)

(*) Non-direct flights.

Santiago International Airport is currently under construction of new terminals, which is amazing. On Infinite Flight, we have the tradicional terminal which is divided into national and international airliners. Terminals C and E are relatively new, and they are both used for national and international flights. However, most of international flights (especially to the US, Oceania or Europe) park at the main terminal from gates 21 to 15. You can find an illustration below:

Infinite Flight Terminals Map

Almost 95% of the time of the year, Arturo Merino Benitez Intl. uses runways 17s for arrivals and departures, which can be simply visible by its layout. Both Runways have two runways entries (for commercial aircraft).

About ground operations, SCEL has a beautiful layout which has a way in and way out taxiways. Of course, this will always depend on the pilot, but the resources to deconflict and avoid possible conflicts are there. Controllers must be careful with runway exits as the most frequently used, may cause ground conflicts with aircraft taxing for departure. It is recommended to use the northern taxiway from the terminal area to taxi for departure as it will highly prevent any arrival-departure conflict.

You can find live flights on the Expert Server with SCEL terrain on

Charts and Procedures can be found here:

Not sure about Santiago yet?

I recommend watching this amazing ILS approach between mountains with low visibility and ATC!

Boeing 777 Low Visibility approach and landing into SCEL

Another tip! - If coming from the south of Chile, I recommend using the RNAV T approach for runway 17L. A beautiful approach following the West mountains path.

None of the images used for this guide are of my property, credits to their respective owners. Please let me know if you have any doubts, I’ll be happy to help.

Other South American Airports Guides:

  • SKBO (El Dorado Intl. Airport)
  • SAEZ (Ministro Pistarini Intl. Airport)
  • SBGR (Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Intl. Airport)
  • SPJC (Jorge Chavez Intl. Airport)

Great tutorial! A small question though: shouldn’t SCIP (Easter Island) be on the destination list? More specifically, LATAM domestic?

Yes, the route SCEL-SCIP it’s a LATAM Chile domestic route operated by the B787. The reason I didn’t included it on the guide, it’s because flights to Rapa Nui (SCIP) are not permitted at the moment as the island is closed to keep their COVID-19 cases in zero; therefore only cargo flights go in and out of Mataveri Intl.

Since you asked, I will include it now as it’s an amazing route ;)


Thanks for the information Nico! I’ve done a flyout event from the Island and it looks amazing!

Very well-made topic. Love the graphics!

I think I attended that event; thanks for stopping by this topic!

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Thanks Cole! You can check other South American airport guides I’ve made here :)

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You are welcome!

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Check this out for tomorrow ATC Schedule featuring SCEL!

Thanks man! Amazing work on putting down the information!

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Glad you liked it!

Bumping this topic for tomorrow’s ATC Schedule :)

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is it still under constructiion?

Yes, although they are working on the final details on the interior of the new terminals. It has been said that the inauguration will be anytime during the next few months/weeks, as far as I know.

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Thanks Nico!

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