The gradual resumption of operations at the Quito International Airport has created positive dynamics, allowing not only the start of the reactivation of passenger air transport, but also generating productive activity for companies that offer commercial and aeronautical services at the airport and becoming in a key factor for the reactivation of related sectors, mainly tourism.


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While other airports in the region remain practically paralyzed, the Quito airport has already been mobilizing passengers for over two months and accumulating experience to operate efficiently, guaranteeing health security. As such, in June, 20 thousand passengers were transported in national and international departures and arrivals, while in July the figure doubled to more than 42 thousand passengers. August saw a 16% increase in comparison to the previous month, with 48 thousand passengers transported.


The fact that the number of passengers transported doubled in July and the elimination of mandatory preventive isolation for travelers arriving in the country with negative PCR tests are cause for optimism, albeit moderate, about the evolution of traffic.


“The proper adoption of sanitary protection measures at our airport and the application of biosecurity protocols have contributed to the recovery of passenger confidence in air transport. Trust is not gained from one moment to the next; it is a process that requires discipline and time and the Quito airport has a head start in that it has already made progress in this process”, explains Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO of Corporación Quiport, the company in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Quito airport.


Quiport is part of a group of international enterprises: Odinsa from Colombia, CCR from Brazil and HAS Development Corporation from the United States, which operate eight airports in the region. Shareholder support, as well as the possibility of sharing best practices in health matters with associated airports and with the airport network that are part of the Airports Council International for Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC), who have given profound technical support, have been key in the entire process of resuming operations at the Quito airport.


The first players to benefit from the resumption of flights are, of course, the airlines, who need to get their planes in the air to generate traffic. Luis Seaman, Station Manager of KLM in Ecuador, believes that “definitely all processes and implementation of biosafety at the airport in Quito contributed to KLM decides to operate at Quito on a regular basis, our congratulations and we look forward!”


Job Protection


The impact on employment has also been positive. Thanks to the resumption of flights, several airport stores have managed to save 40% of jobs and companies that provide aeronautical services have saved, on average, 55% of jobs.


José Jardim, General Manager of Attenza Duty Free in Ecuador, commented, “we are satisfied with the opening of the airport and with the controls and measures implemented to ensure that operations continue safely for passengers and employees. This allows us to restart operations and provide our customers with the our usual services”.

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Andrew O’Brian further expounded by pointing out that “if the recovery is sustained, it will eventually be possible to think about the progressive recovery of jobs in the medium and long term.”


In addition, related activities such as tourism and business travel can lead reactivation strategies. In this regard, Sandro Ruiz, General Manager of the Metropolitan Public Airport Services Company, stated that “air connectivity is one of the main actors in productive development that covers all sectors, mainly tourism, corporate and financial, for which it should receive greater importance and recognition than it currently does”.


Collaboration between the public and private sectors has been key


Thanks to all these considerations, on a regional scale, the city of Quito and its airport occupy a leading position in the air transport industry. The success of the strategy and its application has motivated other countries and airports to analyze the model applied at our airport to develop their own reactivation strategies. Sandro Ruiz highlighted the role of the Municipality of Quito, which “ together with the government authorities led the resumption of air operations in Ecuador, which allows the city to reactivate its economy, give way to the reactivation of tourism and above all, help to retain direct and indirect specialized jobs in the industry”.


All these positive effects are the result of efficient work and the trust between the public sector and its private partner. The transparent dialogue between government authorities at national and local level, and Quiport representatives, allowed the needs of both sectors to be properly tuned and practical solutions to be found to overcome the authorities’ concerns about health security, while Quiport, as a private counterpart in charge of the integral management of the airport, it developed the sanitary protection measures and implemented the necessary equipment to guarantee the operation.

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Consequently, the participation and leadership of the Mayor of Quito, Jorge Yunda, the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Gabriel Martínez and the General Director of Civil Aviation, Anyelo Acosta, has been of vital importance.


“None of this happens by coincidence. The model is based on the political will of the authorities and their firm conviction to reactivate productivity and in the application of all the experience and knowledge that we contribute as an airport operator. My gratitude for the entire Quiport team for having designed the strategy and running the operation flawlessly”, concluded Andrew O’Brian.


Quito Airport receives Health Accreditation


Quito International Airport obtained the Airport Health Accreditation granted by the Airports Council International (ACI). The Airport Health Accreditation is based on the recommendations of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to establish common sanitary measures and is aligned with the best practices of ACI, as well as with the aviation security protocol developed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.


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The objective of the accreditation is to demonstrate to passengers, airport employees, strategic partners and authorities, the actions that the airport has taken to prioritize health and safety.


Aspects evaluated in the program include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (when feasible and practical), protection of airport personnel, physical distribution, communication with passengers, and passenger facilities. Quito International Airport is the tenth in the world and the first in South America to obtain this certification.


Through the efforts of Quiport and its strategic partners to establish adequate health protocols and policies, the joint work between the different organizations and institutions that make up Ecuador’s premiere airport and its objective to protect jobs, the city of Quito continues to set the foundations for a sustained recovery of air transport as well as working to rebuild its future.