Located at the center of Northern Patagonia and near the Archaeological site of Monte Verde. The construction of the runway at El Tepual airport was completed in April 1960, and became the site of a great airlift after the a magnitude 9.5 earthquake hit the area on 22 May 1960. The airport with its original terminal was officially inaugurated in 1963. After Augusto Pinochet left Chile's Presidency, a plan was put underway by the new government to make new airport terminals and freeways across the country, so that Chile's smaller cities could have better connections with Santiago. Puerto Montt, along with Calama and other small areas, were among the most benefitted places out of the number of Chilean cities listed on the project.
During the early 1990s, the numbers of international tourists (specially those from neighboring countries such as Argentina and Brazil) grew considerably. In 1995, the new airport terminal finally opened, with Lan Chile as the largest airline company flying there.
LAN Airlines, as Lan Chile is currently known, has kept on operating services regularly at the airport along with more recent startups such as Sky Airline, with a number of charter airlines also flying to El Tepual.
El Tepual is owned by a number of international companies, headed by Chile's IDC, or Administracion de Concesiones. In 1998, IDC agreed to operate the airport for twelve more years, which would make El Tepual their property until 2010.
A new terminal was inaugurated in February 2010, having increased the number of jetways from 2 to 5, as well as improving the check-in area, baggage claim, airport security, heating system and other airport facilities as well as significantly enlarging the parking lot.
The airport has five jetways (also called airplane tunnel), 4 domestic gates (numbered 1–4) and one international gate (gate number 5, still not in operation).
The airport has a restaurant, a massage facility, immigration offices and areas for disabled persons, among other facilities.
El Tepual airport can only cater to airplanes with the size of a Boeing 707 or smaller. Boeing 737s, Airbus A318s, Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s and Airbus A321s are particularly prominent among airplanes that fly to the airport.
In 2004, the IDC estimated that one million passengers passed through the airport's gates, making it Chile's second busiest. IDC expects that total to rise to four million passengers by 2010.
A large number of different airlines operate off-regular schedule service into El Tepual. These are usually hired by tour agents or companies. These include such airlines as ATS Aerotaxis del Sur, Archipiélagos Aviación, AeroCord, Raúl Atala EIRL, Transportes Aéreos San Rafael and Pewén among others.On 5 December 1969, Douglas C-47A CC-CBY of LAN Chile crashed on take-off. The aircraft was operating a cargo flight, all three people on board survived.