New Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport
With the February 2013 official opening of the new Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport, tourists, residents and businesspeople alike in Ecuador are now a non-stop flight away from Europe, North America and many destinations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The new facility
Construction to replace the airport in Quito with a $534.5 million world-class facility began in 2006 through an innovative partnership between Canada and Ecuador. The Canadian Commercial Corporation was instrumental in subcontracting the construction of the new airport to Toronto-based Aecon Construction Group Inc. Export Development Canada was a key partner in the lending group that funded and insured the project. With roughly 85% Ecuadorian subcontractors, there were some 2,000 Ecuadorians employed in the project during peak construction.
There were unique opportunities for Canada to share our best practices and expertise with Ecuador in executing infrastructure projects in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way.
As a result, in 2009, the airport project won the prestigious Best Practices on Environmental Sustainability in the Americas Award presented by the United Nations. This award recognizes a commitment to observing environmental best practices, including minimizing impact on the environment, reducing emissions and noise, and ensuring a positive economic impact on the host community. The construction project was recognized again in 2010 for excellence in corporate social responsibility.
The new airport can serve up to 5 million passengers annually (compared to 3.5 million for the previous airport), has 35% more pre-boarding areas and 33% more customs checkpoints, is also equipped with a 4.1-kilometer runway (one kilometer longer than the old runway) and was built at an altitude of 2,500 meters (400 meters lower than the old runway). Because the airport was built about 18 kilometers from the city centre, take-off and landing is much safer.
With its increased capacity, the new airport will continue to generate jobs and prosperity in Quito as the facilities expand in the future. Cargo flights will now be able to fly longer distances and will increase prospects for both importers and exporters in Ecuador. For example, Ecuador’s fresh roses (an important export for the country) will now be available in many more countries.
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