El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The new Quito airport opens....updates and effects on Ecuador....

When flying to Ecuador, you only have two options, you can fly into Quito or Guayaquil.

This week on February 20th, the new international airport in Quito is expected to open.

This is huge news for Ecuador and anyone interested in investing here.

Many thought it would never open, myself included.

It's just too damn inconvenient, the new airport is a good hour and a half from the city where the current airport is right smack dab in the middle of it in a cool yet terrifying sort of way.

So why did they decide to build a new airport? 

The current one just got outgrown.  When constructed 60 years ago it was on the far fringes of the city, now its right in the northern central part of Quito.  It also became unsafe as about one or two planes a year fabulously overshoot the narrow runway.

Additionally, the airport and runway are not suitable for accommodating the larger planes that could drive prices down for flights (which is a big plus for stimulating tourism).

Effects on the city of Quito? 

The new airport will have profound effects on the city.  Skyscapers will now be allowed to be built higher, which could drive already high (for Ecuador) property prices downward.  The area around the current airport will probably wither on the vine, it already is a seedy area that will not get any better now that the legit airport-related businesses will be on their way out.

Many travelers whose final destination is somewhere in Ecuador other than Quito will probably opt to go through now more convenient Guayaquil or not bother to pass through the city of Quito at all scheduling their connecting flights back to back to their international arrivals.

The short Quito-Guayaquil flight is the most trafficked route in all of South America, but may not be any longer as more people will choose not to travel as often or use the bus considering the increase in travel times.

The area of the current airport will  be converted into a park, convention center and several large roads servicing the different areas of Quito.

Effects on Ecuador? 

Folks who live in the north of Ecuador in the Otavalo or Cotacachi area will be positively effected by the new airport as the new airport is now an hour closer to home and they no longer have to pass through the city of Quito.

Most travelers who plan to travel onward to the coast, Galapagos or Cuenca will probably opt to pass through Guayaquil where the airport is still smack dab in the middle of the city.

One positive effect for the country is that international airfares are likely to drop as more routes are added to the mix.  Also, national airfares are also likely to drop to the decrease in demand that is likely to be seen at least in the short run.

Interesting facts about the new airport...

- The runway measures 13,421ft compared to the 10,236ft runway of the current airport.

- The elevation of the new airport is at 7,800ft compared to the 9,200ft of the old airport making it a safer destination for planes.

- The capacity of the new airport will be 5 million travelers per year, roughly one million more than the actual airport.

- Taxi fares to or from Quito will range from $16-30 and taxis will not be required to use the taxi meter.

- New direct routes will be opened up immediately to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, México City., Nueva York, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Particularly great for folks who live in the western USA.

- Airport taxes will be increases roughly $9-15 on international fares but they are bult into the ticket prices as they are now.

- There will be no air traffic in Quito from 7pm on FEB 19 until the morning of FEB 20 as over 2500 trucks haul the equipment between the two airports.

- In 2017 the airport plans to begin to build a second runway.

- To arrive you can take the public buses from the Rio Coca station in the north of Quito or one of the transit buses that will leave from the old airport connecting it to the new one.

And in the spirit of this post I'm pleased to announce the opening of my newest business, Quito Airport Suites, a small boutique hotel located just 2 minutes from the entrance of the new airport outside of Quito.  Guests will enjoy their stay in a typical Spanish-hacienda type property with WIFI internet, cable TV with English channels, 24 hr reception, English speaking staff, breakfast included, airport transfers, a restaurant, parking, free storage and pets are allowed.
Rates start at $45 for a single room, $55 for a double (subject to change), make your reservation here

Expat, Ex-snow ski slalom racer
Quito Airport Suites
Murali Hostal Guayaquil

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