The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport serving Quito, the capital of Ecuador, has officially opened following an inauguration by the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.
The last flight from the old airport – which was located within a residental district of Quito – departed at 7.07 p.m. on February 19. Airport staff and users concluded a highly complex overnight transfer of operations to the new airport, which lies 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) to the east of the city, in just 14 hours.
Quito’s new airport opened its doors and received its first aircraft at 9:07 a.m. on February 20.
The new airport boasts a 4.1-kilometer (13,450-foot) runway, the longest in South America.
Providing direct connectivity to Quito’s major export and tourism markets, the new airport will transform Ecuador’s export business and provide travel connections to tourist destinations such as Quito, Cotopaxi, and the Galapagos Islands, according to management engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, which has acted as lenders’ advisor on the project since 2002.
“This is a significant project that will leave a lasting legacy for the Ecuadorian people,” says David Beare, Mott MacDonald’s principal transaction advisor. “The project team has overcome a number of significant risks through collaborative working in order to get the job done.”
Adds Beare: “The Municipality of Quito, the Quiport2 consortium, and the contractor have delivered a world-class airport facility that has significantly improved performance and customer service, whilst addressing the municipality’s primary concerns of safety and security issues associated with the old and constrained location in the center of town.”
In partnership between the municipality and the airport’s international investors, the new-airport project has provided training for 7,000 Ecuadorians and delivered over $1 billion of economic benefit to the local Ecuadorian economy in construction alone, according to Mott MacDonald.
The airport should continue to provide increased employment and inject over $200 million annually into the Greater Quito economy as the new facilities grow, the consulting firm says.
A new water pipeline built in association with the airport now provides a reliable water supply for more than 120,000 people in the communities close to the airport.
According to Mott MacDonald, these are examples of key corporate social responsibility objectives of the Canadian Government, which underwrote the construction contract in terms of cost, quality and timely delivery.