Quito International Airport bouncing back from COVID-19

(Photo: Corporación Quiport)

Significant increases in both passenger numbers and cargo since June 1 resumption are a huge boost for Ecuador

Ecuador’s Quito International Airport is making a steady recovery after their commercial passenger operations were able to resume on June 1.  

Throughout July, domestic airlines Avianca, LATAM and Aeroregional have provided connections with six different destinations within the country.  

The process of recovery was always bound to be a steady one according to Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO of Corporacion Quiport. “We knew from the beginning that recovering traffic would be a slow process,” he commentedWe trust that the elimination of negative testing requirements for COVID-19 for domestic travel, as well as the elimination of mandatory preventive isolation, will serve as catalysts that accelerate the process of passenger growth.”  

Since the steady return in June, Quito Airport has made a significant recovery. In July, international airlines increased from three to five destinations, which had jumped to nine international airlines with seven destinations by August.  

O’Brian also feels the increased traffic is extremely positive for the airport, as well as ensuring it can regain connectivity. “Of the airports that stopped operating in Latin America due to the health emergency, Quito airport was the first to resume national and international operations, implementing strict health protection measures and applying the protocols established by the National Emergency Operations Committee. At that time, the entire region remained expectant about what was happening in Quito.  

The evolution of passenger traffic has also been positive: we started with 20,000 passengers in June, which doubled to 42,000 passengers in July while in August we transported more than 48,000 passengers. Throughout the entire period, between June 1 and September 24, we already surpassed the 166,000-passenger mark.” 

In addition to providing a rise in international travel, there has also been an increase in export cargo for Quito. Flowers are the main product for export from the airport, with the business helping to employ thousands of people in the central northern highlands of the country.  

Unlike many Airports, cargo exports at Quito have not been suspended at any point since the start of the pandemic. The airport is also used as an entry point for medical supplies, such as material for COVID-19 testing.  

By December 2020, the Quiport projections suggest that 13 airlines will operate at the facility, reaching ten international destinations.