Quito prepares for possible June 1 resumption of air transport

(Photo: Quito Airport)

Andrew O’Brian, president and CEO of Corporación Quiport, the management company of Quito Airport (IATA: UIA) has said it is working towards a possible resumption of passenger services from June 1.

Mr O’Brian explained how Ecuador’s primary international gateway has been hit like every other commercial operation during the Covid-19 crisis. In a statement issued on May 4 he said: “Restrictions on air transport have seriously affected airports around the world with a decrease in passenger traffic to never before seen levels.

“In the case of the Quito airport, the reduction in passengers has reached 90%”, while the Covid-19 crisis has also caused a 65% drop in air exports. This means that operations must be kept with a minimum of personnel, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

“Among all the organisations that operate at the Mariscal Sucre Airport, we generate some 8,500 jobs and many of them are in danger. We are all making significant efforts not to affect employees.”

In addition, he recalled that, since the beginning of the health crisis, the airport has remained open and operational 24 hours a day to serve cargo flights and repatriation flights for Ecuadorians and foreigners. “Quito’s airport service is strategic, it is the city’s gateway to the world,” said Mr O’Brian.

He noted that, in this sense, restoring air transport is one of the key factors that will facilitate economic recovery. During the last few weeks Corporación Quiport has been preparing the airport service recovery plan based on the premise that it will be necessary to adapt to a new way of travelling, with new processes and protocols to care for passengers and airport collaborators.

“We are working together with the airlines and other members of the airport community and we already have a plan for returning to activities, probably as of June 1. Naturally, the national Emergency Operations Committee (COE) will have the final say and everything will be carried out in coordination with the Quito’s cantonal COE [the city’s centre of emergency operations], led by Mayor Jorge Yunda, the Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services and the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, who are the authorities we maintain a constant line of communication,” added Mr O’Brian.

He explained that valuable lessons have been learned while managing repatriation flights about how airport operations should be carried out following the new sanitary requirements. “Beyond the date of opening of borders and resumption of flights, we are going to be ready, guaranteeing safety and health at the country’s main airport,” he concluded.