El Loa

El Loa Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto El Loa) (IATA: CJC, ICAO: SCCF), is the major airport serving Calama, and one of the largest airports in Chile. The main terminal covers 20,000 square meters. This airport is located approximately 6 km from the city centre. The airport currently accommodates aircraft with a maximum wingspan of 36m. There are plans to construct a second runway with capacity to accommodate wide body jets and military aircraft. The airport served 247,821 in 2004, 273,275 in 2005, and 315,725 in 2006.

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Calama

Calama is a city and commune in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It is the capital of El Loa Province, part of the Antofagasta Region. Calama is one of the driest cities in the world with average annual precipitation of just 5 mm (0.20 in). The River Loa, Chile's longest, flows through the city. Calama has a population of 147,886 (2012 census). The commune also encompasses the Quechuas communities of Estación San Pedro, Toconce and Cupo; and the Lickan-antay communities of Taira, Conchi Viejo, Lasana, San Francisco de Chiu Chiu, Aiquina-Turi, and Caspana. At an elevation of 2,260 m (7,400 ft), Calama is the gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of Chile’s high central desert. Some of these places of interest include: the town of Chuquicamata, the village of San Pedro de Atacama, Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), the Licancabur volcano, R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, Los Flamencos National Reserve, the Aguas Calientes Salt Flat, the Tuyajto lagoon, the El Tatio Geysers, the village of Chiu-Chiu. In 2003 the nearby town of Chuquicamata, once the largest open-pit copper mine in the world, was dismantled citing environmental reasons and encroachment from the mine's expansion. Residents of Chuquicamata then moved to Calama, away from company-owned residences, to find housing on their own.

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