Ministro Pistarini International Airport, known as Ezeiza International Airport thanks to its location in the Ezeiza Partido in Greater Buenos Aires, is an international airport 22 kilometres (14 mi) south-southwest of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina.
It is the country's largest international airport by number of passengers handled—85% of international traffic—and is a hub for international flights of Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina.
Ezeiza is a modern airport with good services such as ATMs (not all working, though), restaurants, free (but slow) Wi-Fi and duty-free shops. For being the main airport for a metropolitan area of 13 million inhabitants, it is surprisingly compact.
Ministro Pistarini Airport was voted "2007 best airport in the region" following a survey carried out by Skytrax. It dropped to third place in 2010, behind Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport and Jorge Chávez International Airport.
Airlines & Destinations
Terminal C was inaugurated in July 2011; as of December 2011, its facilities were in use by Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air France, and Alitalia for their operations. More SkyTeam members were expected to move their operations to the terminal. In March 2013 terminal B, with an area of 28,795 square metres (309,950 sq ft), was inaugurated, for use by Aerolíneas Argentinas and KLM.
Qantas withdrew its service to the airport in favour of Santiago de Chile in March 2012; flights to Ezeiza Airport had begun in November 2008. This followed Malaysia Airlines' termination of its Boeing 747-served Kuala Lumpur–Cape Town–Buenos Aires route in early 2012 to cut costs. South African Airways discontinued its Johannesburg–Buenos Aires service in March 2014.
In June 2010, Qatar Airways launched direct flights between the airport and Doha. After a ten-year gap, KLM resumed operations at the airport in October 2011. Emirates launched services to the airport in January 2012, and Turkish Airlines extended its Istanbul–São Paulo service to end at Ezeiza in December the same year. Air New Zealand started non-stop flights between the airport and Auckland in December 2015.
From the airport, there are taxis, private cars (remises), buses, and minibuses.
There is also a railway station near Ezeiza International Airport named Ezeiza Station. Unfortunately due the location of Ezeiza International Airport's main entrance and exit, getting to and from the station itself would at least take around a third of the trip between Ezeiza International Airport and Buenos Aires itself. It is not advisable to go there if your final destination is Buenos Aires.
A transfer to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery can be done by remis; for example, Taxi Ezeiza costs $270, for less than an hour (except if huge traffic jams), and can be booked in advance.
Trips on coaches such as Manuel Tienda León from Ezeiza International Airport to Retiro cost around 250 pesos. The coaches leave every half hour—less frequently during evenings. From their terminal in Retiro (corner of San Martin and Av. Madero), a smaller van can deliver you to any downtown address for an additional fee. They group passengers together in a 5-person taxi to drop off one at a time. This may add an additional 15-30 minutes depending on where you are heading. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs. If you miss it in customs (European, Australian, and U.S. travellers are probably more used to such services being located not inside customs), then walk outside. Keep walking for about 200 meters heading towards Terminal B, turn left, go to Terminal B departures, and there's an outside booth there.
By private car
Private Driving services to and from the airport are more expensive but more personalized. Some offer English speaking drivers like Traslada private service car [www], Buenos Aires Airport Transfer Online platform for transfer bookings in over 300 cities around the world. Online and instantly quotes. And SilverStar Transport. [www]
Prepaid taxis or remises from Ezeiza International Airport to downtown cost at least 500 pesos in 2012 plus additional costs (mainly tolls). They are your simplest and safest transport from the airport. As you exit customs there are booths on either side of the receiving area of the airport. Some of the prepaid remises will provide you with a 20% discount coupon for your airport return. If you manage to hold on to this coupon, dial them directly to come and collect you and save yourself 20%. You must also present the original receipt to receive the discount.
There are other established companies such as Manuel Tienda Leon and Go Airport Taxi Buenos Aires which allow for a reservation online in order to guarantee your car/driver prior to your arrival which may be essential in the morning hours when the bulk of the long-haul flights arrive to the airport.
Hailing a curbside taxi is not recommended for tourists that are only newly acquainted with Buenos Aires, but if one does, one should select a taxi that is dropping someone off. It will cost approximately 30% less than a remis. The cab driver will tell you a fixed price beforehand, if not, you should negotiate the price before leaving the pickup area. You should have some familiarity with Buenos Aires and speak Spanish fairly well as your cab driver will likely not speak English.
By public bus
The cheapest way to get downtown, by far, is to take the number 8 bus. In June 2015 it cost less than $1 US to ride the bus for its full route, from the airport to downtown. However, to ride the bus you'll need to purchase a SUBE travel card and put some money on it. And for this, you'll need some local currency. So it's a 3 step process. The following directions pertain if you are in Terminal B.
- Get some local currency. There's a branch of the National Bank at the airport. It's tiny and somewhat inconspicuous, tucked in behind the exit area where you clear customs. For purposes of getting a travel card get $20 US worth of pesos.
- Find a place to purchase a SUBE travel card. In June 2015 the only place available was in a newspaper/tobacco/incidentals store near the stair at the far end of the terminal from the bank. You'll find the store on the left side of the terminal as you walk toward the ticket counters at the far end of the terminal. I was charged 150 pesos for the card, with a peso worth about $.10 (about $1.50 US).
- Put some money on the SUBE card. There's a SUBE charging machine (an ATM-like machine) at the entrance of the store selling the SUBE. Lay the card on a flat plate and feed the machine some pesos. Put 50 pesos on the card.
Note: The SUBE card is also good for the subway or underground, which is called SUBtE. Trains and some tolls can also be payed with SUBE, as well some vending machines.
After getting and charging you SUBE card, walk back to the end of the terminal where you started. Exit the terminal at that end as its closest the number 8 bus. The bus stop for the number 8 bus is a 100 meter walk outside the Terminal B arrivals building. As you walk angle a bit to the left.
When the bus arrives climb aboard, tell the driver where you are going (eg: a Plaza de Mayo, por favor / to Plaza de Mayo, please), and hold the SUBE card up against the reader next to the driver for perhaps 5 seconds, it's a slow reader. You'll see a light go green, and the screen showing the amount that was deducted from your card as well as its remaining credit.
The bus will take almost 2 hours to get to the Plaza de Mayo, a central downtown location where many bus, rail, and taxi options are available. Many stops will be made on the way there. The bus will get crowded, empty out and get crowded again. The ride will show a part of the city quite different from the big city downtown where most tourists head. I saw wagons pulled by donkeys, police with rifles, some interesting architecture, and lots of open space between built up areas - something you won't see when you get downtown. It reminded me in some respects of Long Island, New York in the early 1950s. (This is in contrast to downtown which is crowded and a thoroughly modern city.)
The number 8 bus continues from Plaza de Mayo on Rivadavia Avenue and then on Hipolito Yrigoyen street. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid the common scam. It should be avoided by night.
Returning to airport
If you are returning to Ezeiza International Airport from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says AEROPUERTO (AIRPORT) as there are several 8 buses that go to other places. The bus stops all along Mayo Avenue and then Rivadavia Avenue. It can take more than two hours to get to the airport from downtown (longer than the trip in from the airport), and the bus can get extremely crowded. If you are pressed for time or short on patience, it is highly recommended that you skip this bus and take a taxi or remise.
Accommodation & Hotels
People with disabilities: Parking fee exemption
The parking fee exemption is in force for any vehicle driven or transporting people with disabilities at all the airports included in the National Airport System (SNA, from the Spanish: Sistema Nacional de Aeropuertos). To profit from such benefit, the vehicle should have a fixed or mobile International Symbol of Access (ISA) – they should NOT coexist – and the individual with any disability should be also present. This is an essential condition.
- The National ID can be requested to check the ISA belongs to an individual with a disability traveling in the vehicle.
- Payment of the fee is not waived if the disabled individual is not on the vehicle.
- Presenting the disability certificate is not necessary. Showing the ISA is enough.
Safety and security
As any large airports in many countries, there are records of airport staff stealing from the passengers.
In July 2007, Argentina's TV network "Canal 13" conducted an investigation revealing that several security operators at the airport are stealing valuable objects such as iPods, digital cameras, cellular phones, sun glasses, jewelry, laptops, and other valuables while scanning the luggage of passengers.
According to the special report, security operators at the airport are supposed to check each luggage before putting it into the plane; however, some operators take advantage of the scanner machine to detect valuable objects and steal them. The report states that this event occurs every day. The stolen items include anything from electronic devices to perfumes and works of art or even expensive clothes (such as football jerseys or leather coats).
Travelers and residents are strongly encouraged to place high-value items in your carry-on luggage to prevent any incidents. However, since these carry-on luggages will be scanned too before being carried into the plane, their insides are also at risk of being stolen. With the staff or accomplice distracting the passengers (usually when the staff is searching for any metal or other item on the passenger), while another staff or accomplice steal the items. Another extra accomplice from outside the airport will usually pick up the items later.
Wrapping your baggage and carry-on luggage when leaving and arriving is an idea, since for only around US $16,50. you can discourage robbers from opening (and probably breaking) it,. However for checked-in baggage, it can not be used for passengers exiting and entering the U.S.A., since the T.S.A. demanded that all checked-in baggage to be easily accessible. While wrapping a carry-on luggage will pretty much also denied you of quick access to the carry-on luggage.
Before and after check-in, It would be better to carry only 1 carry-on item and place all of your items (including tickets, wallets, handphones, any metal such like a beltbuckle, and so on) securely inside and not easily accessiblle, requiring the entire carry-on item to be stolen and only 1 item to be watched upon. Travelling in groups will also allow you to divide the task of minding your belongings, one person or more can guard the belongings, while another one is being scanned by the metal detector.