Costa Rica News – There is an annual inspection on each of the 90 state run airstrips in Costa Rica but not on the 28 known private airfields. These strips are used for personal recreation and sometimes to transport tourists, but they go without any monitoring.
The Directorate of Civil Aviation limits its scope of review to the surface of the airstrip and making sure there are working wind indicators and other technical devices and that the area is free of natural obstacles that could affect the runway.
They fail to look into the owners’ backgrounds or what they plan to use the airstip for before allowing the construction. Anyone who has a farm and a plane can create an airstrip.
As you can imagine, this has led to multiple airstrips being created to traffic drugs. 400 kilos of cocaine were found on a track in Cañas and a ton of heroin was found in Limon.
The problem is that there are just not enough police to have a pair of them stationed at each airfield around the clock. There are regulations that owners must keep reports of who comes and goes and also allow inspections by state authorities, but these checkups are rare.